THE LAMES GUIDE
POLITENESS AND PERFECT MMNEKS
h MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
GUIBE AND MANUAL FOR LADIES,
AS REGARDS THEIR (S/V^ ^ ^
Jo * 7 A. -
onversation; manners; dress; introductions: entre to society;
: shopping; conduct in the street; at places of amusement; kn
traveling; AT THIS TABLE, EITHER at HOME, is COMPANY, «R
at hotels ; deportment in gent!, em en 's society; lips;
complexion; teeth; hands; the hair; etc., etc.
WITH FULL INSTRUCTIONS AND ADVICE IN
etter writing; receiving presents : incorrect Words; borrowing. ;
; OBLIGATIONS TO GENTLEMEN : OFFENCES; CHILDREN; DECORUM IN
CHURCH: AT EVENING PARTIES; £ND SUGGESTIONS IN BAD
PRACTICES AND HABITS EASILY CONTRACTED, WHICH NO
>t Y9UNG LADY SflODLO ^BE, -G CILTV Or ETC. ETC.
BY MISS; .LESLIE.
lUthor/' o? "iibj '.l'sue'' Celebrated, ne\V cookery book,
"l.ilSS LESLIE S NEW RECEIPTS FOR COOKING," ETC.
9 !) 1 1 a b c t p If i a :
T. B. PETERSON & BROTHERS, ^
306 CHESTNUT STREET. ^^
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by
T. B. PETERSON & BROTHERS,
the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for th<
Eastern District of Pennsylyania.
BOSTON p f .r /
It is said that soon after the publication of
Nicholas Nickleby, not fewer than six York-
shire schoolmasters (or rather six principals
of Yorkshire institutes) took journeys to Lon-
don, with the express purpose of prosecuting
Dickens for libels — " each one and severally"
considering himself shown up to the world as
Mr. Squeers of Dotheboys Hall.
Now, if Dickens had drawn as graphic a
picture of Dothe^irZs Hall, we firmly believe
that none of the lady principals of similar in-
stitutes would have committed themselves by
evincing so little tact, and adopting sucli im-
politic proceedings. They would wisely have
held back from all appropriation of the ob-
noxious character, and passed it over unno-
ticed; as if it could not possibly have the
slightest reference to them.
Therefore we wish that those of our fair
readers whom certain hints in the following
pages may awaken to the consciousness of a
few habitual misbehavements, (of which they
were not previously aware,) should pause, and
reflect, before they allow themselves to " take
umbrage too much." . Let them keep in mind
that the purpose of the writer is to amend, and
not to oifend ; to improve her young country-
women, and not to annoy them. It is with
this view only that she has been induced to
"set down in a note-book" such lapses from
les hienseances as she has remarked during a
long course of observation, and on a very
She trusts that her readers will peruse this
book in as friendly a spirit as it was written.
SUGGESTIONS TO VISITERS P
THE VISITED 24
TEA VISITERS .' 30
THE ENTREE 47
CONDUCT IN THE STREET 65
SHOPPING '. 71
PLACES OF AMUSEMENT 87
DEPORTMENT AT A HOTEL 101
HOTEL DINNER 120
INCORRECT WORDS 2Ui
OBLIGATIONS TO GENTLEMEN... 250
CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN 256
SUGGESTIONS TO INEXPERIENCED AUTHORS 274
CHILDREN , 285
DECORUM IN CHURCH 299
EVENING PARTIES 304
SUGGESTIONS TO VISITERS.
An amusing writer of the last century, justly
complains of the want of definite words to express,
distinctly and unmistakably, the different degrees of
visits, with reference to their length. Whether the
stay of the guest comprises ten minutes, an hour, an
evening, a day, a week, or a month, still it goes under
the vague and general term of a visit.
We propose, humourously, that if the stay of the
guest exceeds a week, it should be called "a visita-
tion." If it includes a dining, or a tea-drinking, or
evening-spending, it may be termed "a visit;" while
a mere call can be mentioned as "a vis."
The idea is a very convenient one, and we should
like to see it carried out by general adoption. Mean-
while, we must, for the present, be contented with the
old uncertain practice of saying only "visit" and
a visiter." We think it our duty to explain that this
chapter is designed for the benefit of such inexperienced
10 MJ OK.
females as maybe about to i ngage in what we should
like to call "A visitation."
To begin at tin.' beginning: —
Do not volunteer a visit to a friend in tlie country,
or in another town, unless you Lave had what is called
"a standing invitation," with every reason to believe
that it was sincerely and cordially given. Many invi-
tations are mere " words of course," without meaning or
motive, designed only to make a show of politeness, and
not intended to be taken literally, or ever acted upon.
Even when convinced that your friend is really your
friend, that she truly loves you, has invited you in all
sincerity, and will be happy in your society, still, it is
best to apprize her, duly, of the exact day and hour
when she may expect you; always with the proviso
that it is convenient to herself to receive you at that
time, and desiring her to let you kimw, candidly, if it
is not. However close your intimacy, an unexpected
arrival may possibly produce inconvenience to your
hostess ; particularly if her family is numerous, or her
bedchambers few. The case is somewhat different,
where the house is large, and where there is no scarcity
of apartments : lor guests, of servants to wait on them,
or of money to furnish the means of entertaining them
liberally. But even then, the time of arrival should
be previously intimated, and observed as punctually as
possible. Such are now the facilities of travelling, and
the rapidity of transmitting intelligence, that there is
no excuse for unexpected or ill-timed visits ; and when
unexpected, they are too frequently ill-timed. When
attempted as "agreeable surprises," they are seldo7U
SUGGESTIONS TO VISIT
"erj agreeable to the surprised. Also the improve
.jent in manners has rendered these incursions okl-
tashioned and ungenteel. Above all,' never volunteer
visits to families whose circumstances are so narrow
£hat they can ill afford the expense of a guest.
Having received an invitation, reply to it imme-
diately; and do not keep your friends waiting, day
after day, in uncertainty whether you mean to accept
or decline it ; causing them, perhaps, to delay asking
other visiters till they have ascertained if you are to
he expected or not.
Excuse yourself from accepting invitations from
persons whom you do not like, and whose dispositions,
habits, feelings, and opinions are in most things the
reverse of your own. There can be no pleasure in
daily and familiar intercourse where there is no con-
geniality. Such visits never end well ; and they some-
times produce irreconcilable quarrels, or at least a
lasting and ill-concealed coolness. Though for years
you may have always met on decent terms, you may
become positive enemies from living a short time under
the same roof; and there is something dishonourable
in laying yourself under obligations and receiving
civilities from persons whom you secretly dislike, and
in whose society you can have little or no enjoyment.
When you arrive, take occasion to mention how
lone you intend to stay; that your hostess may plan
her ar] accordingly. It is rude and incon-
siderate to keep her in ignorance of the probable
duration of your visit. And when the allotted time
has expired, do not be persuaded to extend it farther.
12 MI R BOOK.
38 you are earneslfly, and with undoubted sincerity
invited to do so. It is much better that your friends
should part with you reluctantly, than you should give
them reason to wish your visit shorter. Even if it
has been very pleasant on both sides, it may not con-
tinue so if prolonged too far. Take care of wearing
out your welcome. Besides, your room may be
wanted for another guest.
On your first evening, enquire the hours of the
house, that you may always be ready to comply with
them. Rise early enough to be washed and dressed
in time for breakfast; but if you are ready too early,
remain in your own apartment, or walk about the
garden, or go to the library till the cleaning and
arranging of the sitting-room has been completed.
Meanwhile, you can occupy yourself with a book, if
you stay in your own room.
As soon as you quit your bed, take off the bed-
clothes, (each article separately,) and spread them
widely over the chairs, turning the mattrass or bed as
far down as it will go. This will give the bedding
time to air ; and in all houses it should be done every
morning, the whole year round. Before you leave
the room, raise the windows as high as they will go,
(unless it should be raining, or snowing,) that the
apartment may be well ventilated. Fortunate are
those who have been accustomed to sleeping always
with the sash more or less open, according to the
weather, or the season. Their health will be much
the better for the excellent practice of constantly
admitting fresh air into their sleeping-room. See Dr.
SUGGESTIONS TO VISITERS.
Franklin's essay on the "Art of Sleeping well." Mr.
Combe, who has written copiously on this subject, says
it not only improves the health, but the complexion ;
and that ladies who follow this practice continue to
look young long after those who sleep in close rooms
have faded and shrivelled. '> Except in a very unhealthy
climate, or in the neighbourhood of marshes, no ex-
ternal air can be so unwholesome, or productive of
such baneful effects on the constitution,' as the same
air breathed over and over again in a close room, and
returning continually to the lungs, till before morning
it becomes unfit to be breathed at all. Sleeping with
the windows closed in a room newly painted has pro-
duced fatal diseases. To some lungs the vapour of
white lead is poisonous. To none is it quite innoxious.
Its dangerous properties may be neutralized by placing
in newly-painted rooms, large tubs of water, into each
of which has been mixed an ounce of vitriol. The
tubs must be set near the walls, and the water and
vitriol renewed every clay. The introduction of zinc-
paint promises to put that of white lead out of use ;
as zinc is quite as cheap, and not at all pernicious to
At sleeping hours the air of a bedroom should be
perfectly free from all scents, either pleasant or other-
wise. Many persons cannot sleep with flowers in theii
chamber, or with any sort of perfume. It is best not.
If when on a visit, you find that the chambermaid
does not make your bed so that you can sleep com-
fortably, show her how to do it, (privately,) but say
nothing to your hostess. There is but one way of
LESLIE ' BEHAVIOUR BOOK
making a bed properly; and yet it is surprising how
little that way is known or remembered. First, shake
up the bed high and evenly ; turning it over, and see
that the foot is not higher than the head. If there is
a mattrass above the bed, turn the mattrass half up,
and then half down, till you have shaken up the bed
beneath. Next spread on the under-sheet, laying it
well over the bolster to secure it from dragging down
and getting under the shoulders. However, to most
beds now, there is a bolster-ease. Xhcn tuck in the
under-sheet, well, at both sides, to prevent its getting
loose and disordered in the night. For the same
reason tuck in the - upper-sheet, well, at the foot,
leaving the sides loose. Tuck in the blankets at
bottom, but not at the sides. Lay the counterpane
smoothly over the whole. Turn it down at the top ;
and turn down the upper-sheet above it, so as to
conceal the blankets entirely.
Should the chambermaid neglect your room, or be
remiss in filling your pitchers, or in furnishing you
with clean towels, speak to her on the subject when
alone. She will hardly, for her own sake, inform her
mistress that you have had occasion to find fault with
her ; unless she is very insolent or sulky, she will say
she is sorry, and will promise to do better in future.
Complaining to her mistress of these neglects will
probably give offence to the lady, who may be of that-
wayward (though too common) disposition which will
allow no one except herself, to find any deficiency
in her servants. As mistresses are frequently very
touchy on these points, your hostess may hint that
SUGGESTIONS TO VISITERS. 15
your statement is incredible, and that " no one ever
omplained before." Above all things, avoid letting
her know that you have found or felt insects in your
bed; a circumstance that may chance sometimes to
happen even in the best kept houses. In a warm
climate, or in an old house, the utmost care and the
most vigilant neatness cannot always prevent it. It
may be caused by the bringing of baggage from boats,
or ships, and by servants neglecting their own' beds ; a
too common practice with them, unless the mistress or
her housekeeper compels them to be cleanly, and sees
that they are so.
If you have proof positive that your bed is not free
from these intolerable nuisances, confide this fact to
the chambermaid only, and desire her to attend to it
speedily. She will do so the more readily, if you
promise her a reward in case of complete success.
Enjoining her to manage this as quietly as possible,
and to say nothing about it to any one, may spare
you a scene with your hostess ; who, though you have
always regarded her as your warm friend, may, not-
withstanding, become your enemy for life, in conse-
quence of your having presumed to be incommoded in
her house, where "nobody ever complained before."
A well-bred, sensible, good-tempered woman will not,
of course, take offence for such a cause; and will
believe that there must have been good reason for the
complaint, rather than suppose that her guest and her
friend would mention so delicate a subject even to a
servant, unless there was positive proof. And she
will rightly think it was well to make it known, and
16 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
have it immediately remedied. But all women who
invite friends to visit them, are not sensible and good-
tempered. Therefore, take care.
For similar reasons, should a servant purloin any
article belonging to you, (and servants, considered
quite honest, will sometimes pilfer from a visiter when
they would not dare to do so from their mistress,) it is
safest to pass it over, unless the article stolen is of
consequence. You may find your hostess very un-
willing to believe that a servant of hers could possibly
be dishonest; and much may be said, or evidently
thought, that will be very painful to you, her guest.
Notwithstanding all that may be said to you about
"feeling yourself perfectly at home," and " considering
your friend's house as your own," be very careful not
literally to do so. In fact, it is impossible you should
with any propriety — particularly, if it is your first
visit. You cannot possibly know the real character
and disposition of any acquaintance, till after you
have had some experience in living under the same
roof. If you find your hostess all that you can desire,
and that she is making your visit every way agreeable,
be very grateful to her, and let her understand that
you are exceedingly happy at her house; but avoid
staying too long, or taxing her kindness too highly.
Avoid encroaching unreasonably upon her time.
Expect her not to devote an undue portion of it to
you. She will probably be engaged in the superin-
tendence of household affairs, or in the care of her
young children, for two or three hours after breakfast.
So at these hours do not intrude upon her, — but amuse
SUGGESTIONS TO VISITERS. 17
yourself with some occupation of your own, till you
see that it is convenient to the family for you to join
them in the sitting-room. In summer afternoons,
retire for an hour or more, soon after dinner, to your
own apartment, that you may give your friends an
opportunity of taking their naps, and that you may do
the same yourself. You will be brighter in the even-
ing, from indulging in this practice ; and less likely
to feel sleepy, when you ought to be wide awake, and
ready to assist in entertaining your entertainers. A
silent visiter, whether silent from dulness or indo-
lence, or a habit of taciturnity, is never an agreeable
Yet, however pleasant the conversation, have suffi-
cient self-denial to break off in seasonable time, so as
not to keep the family up by continuing in the parlour
till a late hour. Some of them may be tired and
sleepy, though you are not. And between ten and
eleven o'clock it is well to retire.
If you have shopping to do, and are acquainted
with the town, you can be under no necessity of
imposing on any lady of the family the task of
accompanying you. To shop for others, or with
others, is a most irksome fatigue. Even when a
stranger in the place, you can easily, by enquiring of
the family, learn where the best stores are to be
found, and go to them by yourself.
While you are a guest at the house of a friend, do
not pass too much of your time in visiting at other
houses, unless she is with you. You have no right to
avail yourself of the conveniences of eating and sleep-
18 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
ing at her mansion, without giving her and her family
the largest portion of your company.
"While a guest yourself, it is taking an unwarrantable
liberty to invite any of your friends or relatives to
come there and spend a day or clays.*
Refrain from visiting any person with whom your
hostess is at enmity, even if that person has been one
of your own intimate friends. You will in all proba-
bility be regarded as "a spy in the camp." There is
nothing so difficult as to observe a strict neutrality ;
and on hearing both sides, it is scarcely possible not
to lean more to the one than to the other. The friend
whose hospitality you are enjoying will soon begin to
look coldly upon you, if she finds you seeking the
society of her enemy; and she may evince that cold-
ness whenever you come home from these visits.
However unjust her suspicions, it is too probable she
may begin to think that you are drawn in to make
her, and her house, and family, subjects of conversation
when visiting her adversary ; therefore, she will cease
to feel kindly toward you. If you understand, soon
after your arrival, that there is no probability of a
reconciliation, send at once a concise note to the lady
with whom your hostess is at variance ; express your
regret at the circumstance, and excuse yourself from
visiting her while you remain in your present residence.
This note should be polite, short, and decisive, and so
worded as to give no offence to either side ; for, before
* So it is to order the carriage without first asking permission
of your hostess.
SUGGESTIONS TO VISITERS. 19
ponding, it is proper for you to show it, while ye*
unsealed, to the friend with whom you are staying
And then let the correspondence be carried no further
The lady to whom it is addressed, will, of course,
return a polite answer; such as you may show to
It is to be presumed, she will not be so lost to all
delicacy and propriety, as to intrude herself into the
house of her enemy for the purpose of visiting you.
But, if she does, it is your place civilly to decline
seeing her. A slight coolness, a mere offence on a
point of etiquette, which, if let alone, would die
out like a tinder-spark, has been fanned, and blown
into a flame by the go-betweening of a so-called mutual
friend. We repeat, while you are a visiter at a house,
hold no intercourse with any foe of that house. It is
unkind and disrespectful to the family with whom you
are staying, and very unsafe for yourself.
If you know that your friends are hurried with
their sewing, or with preparations for company, offer
to assist them, as far as you can. But if you are
conscious of an incapacity to do such things well, it is
better to excuse yourself by candidly saying so, than
to attempt them and spoil them. At the same time,
express your willingness to learn, if permitted. And
you may learn, while staying at the house of a clever,
notable friend, many things that you have hitherto
had no opportunity of acquiring.
When called on by any of your own acquaintances*
they will not expect you to ask them to stay to tea,
•JO MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
or to dinner. That is the business of your hostess —
If you are a young lady that has beaux, remember
that you have no right to encourage the over-fre-
quency of their visits in any house that is not your
home, or to devote much of your time and attention
to flirtation with them. Above all, avoid introducing
to the family of your entertainers, young men whom
they are likely in any respect to disapprove. No
stranger who has the feelings of a gentleman, will
make a second visit to any house unless he is invited
by the head of the family, and he will take care that
his visits shall not begin too early, or continue too
late. However delightful he may find the society of
his lady-fair, he has no right to incommode the family
with whom she is staying, by prolonging his visks to
an unseasonable hour. If he seems inclined to do so,
there is nothing amiss in his fair-one herself hinting
to him that it is past ten o'clock. Also, there should
be "a temperance" even in his morning calls. It is
rude in a young lady and gentleman to monopolize
one of the parlours nearly all the forenoon — even if
they are really courting — still more if they are only
pretending to court ; for instance, sitting close to each
other, and whispering on subjects that might be dis-
cussed aloud before the whole house, and talked of
across the room.
Young ladies noted for abounding in beaux, are
generally rather inconvenient visiters ; except in very
spacious houses, and in gay, idle families. They
should not take the liberty of inviting the said beaux
SUGGESTIONS TO VISITERS. 2\
to stay to dinner or to tea. Leave that civility to
the head of the house, — without whose invitation no
gentleman ought to remain.
It is proper for visiters to put out and pay for
their own washing, ironing, &c. Therefore, carry
among your baggage two clothes-bags; one to be
taken away by the laundress, the other to^ receive
your clothes in the interval. You may always hear
of a washerwoman, by enquiring of the servants of
On no consideration question the servants, or talk
to them about the family, particularly if they are
Take with you a small writing-case, containing
whatever stationery you may be likely to want during
your visit; including post-office stamps. Thus you
will spare yourself, and spare the family, the incon-
venience of applying to them whenever you have
occasion for pen, ink, paper, &c. If you have no
ink with you, the first time you go out, stop in at
a stationer's store, and buy a small sixpenny bottle
that will stand steadily alone, and answer the purpose
of an inkstand. Also, take care to be well supplied
vith all sorts of sewing articles. There are young
ladies who go from home on long visits, quite unpro-
vided with even thimbles and scissors ; depending all
the time on borrowing. Many visiters, though very
agreeable in great things, are exceedingly troublesome
in little ones.
Take care not to slop your washing-stand, or to lay
a piece of wet soap upon it. Spread your wet towels
22 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOS.
fully on the towel-rail. See that your trunks are
not placed so near the wall as to injure the paper or
paint when the lid is thrown back.
If, when travelling, you are to stop but one night at
the house of a friend, it is not necessary, for that one
night, to have all your baggage carried up-stairs,
particularly if your trunks are large or heavy. Be-
fore leaving home, put into your carpet-bag all the
things you will require for that night ; and then no
other article of your baggage need be taken up to
your chamber. They can be left down-stairs, in
some safe and convenient place, which your hostess
will designate. This will save much trouble, and
preclude all the injury that may otherwise accrue to
the banisters and staircase-wall, by the corners of
trunks knocking against them. It is possible to put
into a carpet-satchel (that can be carried in your own
hand) a night-gown and night-cap, (tightly rolled,)
with hair-brush, combs, tooth-brush, &c. It is sur-
prising how much these hand-satchels may be made
to contain, when packed closely. No lady or gentle-
man should travel without one. In going from home
for one night only, a satchel is, frequently, all that is
On concluding your visit, tell your entertainers
that it has been pleasant, and express your gratitude
for the kindness you have received from them, and'
your hope that they will give you an opportunity
of returning their civilities. Give a parting gratuity
to each of the servants — the sum being according
to your means, and to the length of your visit.
SUGGESTIONS TO VISITERS. 23
Give this to each servant with your oivn hand*,
going to them for the purpose. Do not tempt their
integrity, by intrusting (for instance) to the chamber-
maid the fee intended for the cook. She may dis-
honestly keep it to herself, and make the cook believe
that you were "so mean as to go away without leaving
any thing at all for her." Such things have happened,
as we know. Therefore, give all your fees in person.
After you get home, write very soon (within two
or three days) to the friend at whose house you have
been staying, tell her of your journey, &c, and allude
to your visit as having been very agreeable.
The visit over, be of all things careful not to repeat
any thing that has come to your knowledge in con-
sequence, and which your entertainers would wish to
remain unknown. While inmates of their house, you
may have unavoidably become, acquainted with some
particulars of their way of living not generally known,
and which, perhaps, would not raise them in public
estimation, if disclosed. Having been their guest,
and partaken of their hospitality, you are bound in
honour to keep silent on every topic that would injure
them in the smallest degree, if repeated. Unhappily,
there are ladies so lost to shame, as, after making a
long visit, to retail for the amusement of their cronies,
all sorts of invidious anecdotes concerning the family
at whose house they have been staying ; adding by
way of corroboration — "I assure you this is all true,
for I stayed five or six weeks at their house, and had
a good chance of knowing." More shame then to
24 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
Whatever painful discoveries are mafic during a
visit, should be kept as closely secret as if secrecy
was enjoined by oath. It is not sufficient to refrain
from "mentioning names/ 1 No clue should be given
that could possibly enable the hearers even to hazard
Having invited a friend to pass a few days or
weeks at your house, and expecting her at a certain
time, send a carriage to meet her at the rail-road
depot or the steam-boat wharf, and if her host or
hostess goes in it, so much the better; but do not
take the children along, crowding the vehicle, for the
sake of giving them a ride. Arriving at your house,
have her baggage taken at once to the apartment
prepared for her, and when she goes up-stairs, send a
servant with her to unstrap her trunks. Then let her
be left alone to arrange her dress. It is to be sup-
posed that before her arrival, the mistress of the
house has inspected the chamber of her guest, to see
that all is right — that there are two pitchers full of
fresh water on the stand, and three towels on the rail,
(two fine and one coarse,) with a china mug for teetk-
jleanmg, and a tumbler to drink from; a slop jar of
course, and a foot-bath. We conclude that in all
THE VISITED. 25
genteel and well-furnished houses, none of these arti-
cles are wanting in every bedroom. On the mantel-
piece a candle or lamp, with a box of lucifer matches
beside it — the candle to be replaced by a new one
every morning when the chambermaid arranges the
room— or the lamp to be trimmed daily ; so that the
visiter may have a light at hand whenever she pleases,
without ringing the bell and waiting till a servant
brings one up.
By-the-bye, w T hen a guest is expected, see previously
that the bells and locks of her room are in order ; and
if they are not, have them repaired.
If it is cold weather, let her find a good fire in her
room ; and the shutters open, that she may have suffi-
cient light. Also an extra blanket, folded, and laid
on the foot of the bed. If summer, let the sashes be
raised, and the shutters bowed. The room should
have an easy chair with a heavy foot-cushion before
it, — a low chair also, to sit on when shoes and stock-
ings are to be changed, and feet washed. In a spare
chamber there should be both a mattrass . and a
feather-bed, that your visiters may choose which
they will have uppermost. Though you and all your
own family may like to sleep hard, your guests may
find it difficult to sleep at all on a mattrass with a
paillasse under it. To many constitutions hard sleep-
ing is not only intolerable, but pernicious to health.
Let the centre-table be furnished with a writing-
case well supplied with all that is necessary, the ink-
stand filled, and with good black ink ; and some sneets
of letter-paper and note-paper laid near it. ^xlso,
26 MISS LESLIE'S BBHAVIOUR BOOK.
some books, such as you think your friend will like
Let her find, at least, one bureau vacant; all the
drawers empty, so that she may be able to unpack her
muslins, &c., and arrange them at once. The same
with the wardrobe or commode, so that she may have
space to hang up her dresses — the press-closet, like-
wise, should be for her use while she stays.
By giving up the spare bedroom entirely to your
visiter you will very much oblige her, and preclude
the necessity of disturbing or interrupting her by
coming in to get something out of drawers, closets, &c.
Every morning, after the chambermaid has done
her duty, (the room of the visiter is the first to be put
in order,) the hostess should go in to see that all is
right. This done, no further inspection is nece-
for that day. There are ladies who, when a friend is
staying with them, are continually slipping into her
chamber when she is out of it, to see if the guest has
done nothing amisa — such as moving a chair to suit
her own convenience, or opening a shutter to let in
more light, at the possible risk of hastening imper-
ceptibly the fading of the carpet. There are families
who condemn themselves to a perpetual twilight, by
living in the dimness of closed shutters, to the great
injury of their eyes. And this is endured to retard
awhile the fading of furniture too showy for comfort.
We have seen staircase-windows kept always shut and
bolted, (so that visiters had to grope their way in
darkness,) lest the small portion of stair-carpet just
beneath the window should fade before the rest.
It is not pleasant to be a guest in a house where
THE VISITED. 27
you perceive that your hostess is continually and
fretfully on the watch, lest some almost imperceptible
injury should accrue to the furniture. We have
known ladies who were always uneasy when their
visiters sat down on a sofa or an ottoman, and could
not forbear inviting them to change their seats and
take chairs. We suppose the fear was that the more
the damask-covered seats were used, the sooner they
would wear out. Let no visiter be so rash as to sit
on a pier-divan with her back near a mirror. The
danger is imminent — not only of breaking the glass
by inadvertently leaning against it, but of certainly
fretting its owner, with uneasiness, all the time.
Children should be positively interdicted taking these
It is very kind and considerate to enquire of your
guest if there is any cLsh, or article of food that she
particularly likes, so that you may have it on the
table while she stays ; and also, if there is any thing
peculiarly disagreeable to her, so that you may refrain
from having it during her visit. A well-bred and
sensible woman will not encroach upon your kindness,
or take an undue advantage of it, in this respect or
For such deficiencies as may be avoided or remedied,
refrain from making the foolish apology that you
consider her "no stranger" — and that you regard her
"just as one of the family." If you invite her at all,
it is your duty, for your own sake as well as hers, to
treat her well in every thing. You will lose nothing
by doing so.
28 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
If she desires to assist you in sewing, and Iils
brought no work of her own, von may avail yourself
of her offer, and employ her in moderation — but let it
be in moderation only, and when sitting in the family
circle. When alone in her own room, she, of course,
would much rather read, write, or occupy herself in
some way for her own benefit, or amusement. There
are ladies who seem to expect that their guests should
perform as much work as hired seamstresses.
Let the children be strictly forbidden to run into
the apartments of visiters. Interdict them from
going thither, unless sent with a message ; and then
let them be made to understand that they are always
to knock at the door, and not go in till desired to do
so. Also, that they are not to play and make a
noise in the neighbourhood of her room. And when
she comes into the parlour, that they are not to jump
on her lap, put their hands into her pockets, or rum-
mage her work-basket, or rumple and soil her dress
by clinging to it with their hands. Neither should
they be permitted to amuse themselves by rattling on
the lower keys when she is playing on the piano, or
interrupt her by teazing her all the time to play "for
them to dance." All this we have seen, and the
mothers have never checked it. To permit children
to ask visiters for pennies or sixpences is mean and
contemptible. And, if money is given them by a
guest, they should be made to return it immediately.
Enquire on the first evening, if your visiter is ac-
customed to taking any refreshment before she retires
for the night. If she is, have something sent up to
THE VISITED. 29
her room every night, unless your own family are in
the same habit. Then let sufficient for all be brought
into the parlour. These little repasts are very pleasant,
especially at the close of a long winter evening, and
after coming home from a place of public amusement.
To "welcome the coming — speed the parting
guest" — is a good maxim. So when your visiter is
about to leave you, make all smooth and convenient
for her departure. Let her be called up at an early
hour, if she is to set out in the morning. Send a
servant up to strap and bring down her trunks, as
soon as she has announced that they are ready ; and
see that an early breakfast is prepared for her, and
some of the family up and dressed to share it with
her. Slip some cakes into her satchel for her to eat
on the road, in case, by some chance, she should not
reach the end of her journey at the usual hour. Have
a carriage at the door in due time, and let some male
member of the family accompany her to the starting-
place and see her off, attending to her baggage and
procuring her tickets.
MISS LESLIE S BEHAVIOUR I
When you have invited a friend to take tea with
you, endeavour to render her visit as agreeable aa
you can; and try by all means to make her comfort-,
able. See that your lamps are lighted at an early
hour, particularly those of the entry and stair-case,
those parts of the house always becoming dark as
soon as the sun is down ; and to persons coming in
directly from the light of the open air, they always
seem darker than they really are. Have the parlours
lighted rather earlier than usual, that your guest, on
her entrance, may be in no danger of running against
the tables, or stumbling over chairs. In rooms heated
by a furnace, or by any other invisible fire, it is still
more necessary to have the lamps lighted early.
If there is a coal-grate, see that the fire is burning
clear and brightly, that the bottom has been well-
raked of cinders and ashes, and the hearth swept
clean. A dull fire, half-choked with dead, cinders,
and an ashy hearth, give a slovenly and dreary aspect
to the most elegantly furnished parlour. A sufficiently
large grate (if the fire is well made up, and plenty of
fresh coal put on about six o'clock) will generally
require no further replenishing during the evening,
TEA VISITERS. 31
unless the weather is unusually cold ; and then more
fuel should be added at eight or nine o'clock, so as to
make the room comfortable.
In summer evenings, let the window-sashes be kept
up, or the .slats of the venitian blinds turned open, so
that your guest may find the atmosphere of the rooms
cool and pleasant. There should always be fans
(feather or palm-leaf) on the centre-tables.
The domestic that attends the door should be
instructed to show the guest up-stairs, as soon as she
arrives ; conducting her to an unoccupied apartment,
where she may take off her bonnet, and arrange her
hair, or any part of her dress that may require change
or improvement. The lady should then be left to
herself. Nothing is polite that can possibly incom-
mode or embarrass — therefore, it is a mistaken civility
for the hostess, or some female member of the family
to follow the visiter up-stairs, and remain with her all
the time she is preparing for her appearance in the
parlour. We have seen an -inquisitive little girl per-
mitted by her mother to accompany a guest to the
dressing-table, and watch her all the while she was at
the glass ; even following her to the corner in which
she changed her shoes ; the child talking, and asking
questions incessantly. This should not be. Let both
mothers and children understand that, on all occasions,
over-officiousness is not politeness, and that nothing
troublesome and inconvenient is ever agreeable.
The toilet-table should be always furnished with a
clean hair-brush, and a nice comb. We recommend
those hair-brushes that have a mirror on the back, so
MISS LI \ lOTJR BOOK.
as to afford the lady a glimpse of the back of her
head and neck. Better still, as an appendage to a
dressing-tab'le, is a regular hand-mirror, of sufficient
size to allow a really satisfactory view. These hand-
mirrors are very convenient, to he used in conjunction
with the large dressing-glass. Their cost is but
trifT lg. The toilet-pincushion should always have
pin» in it. A small work-box properly furnished with
needles, scissors, thimble, and cotton-spools, ought
also to find a place on the dressing-table, in case the
visiter may have occasion to repair any accident that
may have happened to her dress.
For want of proper attention to such things, in an
ill-ordered, though perhaps a very showy establish-
ment, we have known an expected visiter ushered first
into a dark entry, then shown into a dark parlour
with an ashy hearth, and the fire nearly out : then,
after groping her way to a seat, obliged to wait till a
small hand-lamp could be procured to light her dimly
up a steep, sharp-turning stair-case ; and then, by the
same lamp, finding on the neglected dressing-table a
broken comb, an old brush, and an empty pincushion,
— or (quite as probably) nothing at all — not to men-
tion two or three children coming to watch and starr
at her. On returning to the parlour, the visiter would
probably find the fire just then making up, and the
lamp still unlighted, because it had first to be trimmed.
Meanwhile, the guest commences her vijk with an
uncomfortable feeling of self-reproach for coming
too early; all things denoting that she was not
expected so soon. In such houses everybody cornea
TEA VISITERS. 33
too early. However late, there will be nothing in
The hostess should be in the parlour, prepared
to receive her visiter, and to give her at once a
seat in the corner of a sofa, or in a fauteuil, or large
comfortable chair; if a rocking-chair, a footstool is
an indispensable appendage. By-the-bye, the "'izzy
and ungraceful practice of rocking in a rocking-cnair
is now discontinued by all genteel people, except
when entirely alone. A lady should never be seen to
rock in a chair, and the rocking of a gentleman looks
silly. Rocking is only fit for a nurse putting a babj
to sleep. When children get into a large rocking-
chair, they usually rock it over backward, and fall
out. These chairs are now seldom seen in a parlour.
Handsome, stuffed easy chairs, that are moved on
castors, are substituted — and of these, half a dozen of
various forms are not considered too many.
Give your visiter a fan to cool herself, if the room
is warm, or to shade her eyes from the glare of the
fire or the light — for the latter purpose, a broad hand-
screen is generally used, but a palm-leaf fan will do
for both. In buying these fans, choose those whose
handle is the firm natural stem, left remaining on the
leaf. They are far better than those with handles of
bamboo, which in a short time become loose and
There are many persons who, professing never to
use a fan themselves, seem to think that nobody can
Dy any chance require one; and therefore they
selfishly keep nothing of the sort in their rooms.
MISS LESLIE'S BETT.mOUR BOOK.
Tf, in consequence of dining very late, you are m
the custom of also taking tea at a late hour — or
making but slight preparations for that repast — waive
that custom when you expect a friend whom you
know to be in the practice of dining early, and who,
perhaps, has walked far enough to feel fatigued, and
to acquire an appetite. For her accommodation, order
the tea earlier than usual, and let it be w T hat is called
"&good tea." If there is ample room at table, do
not have the tea carried round, — particularly if you
have but one servant to hand the whole. It is
tedious, inconvenient, and unsatisfactory. There is
no comfortable way of eating bread and butter, toast,
or buttered cakes, except when seated at table. When
handed round, there is always a risk of their greasing
the dresses of the ladies — the greasing of lingers is
inevitable — though that is of less consequence, now 7
that the absurd practice of eating in gloves is wisely
abolished among genteel people.
Still, if the company is too numerous for all to be
commodiously seated at the usual family table, and if
the table cannot be enlarged — it is better to have tea
carried round by tivo servants, even if an extra one is
hired for the occasion, than to crowd your guests
uncomfortably. One person too many will cause
inconvenience to all the rest, however the hostess
may try to pass it off, by assuring the company that
there is quite room enough, and that she has seen a
still larger number seated round that very table.
"Everybody knows that "what's impossible a'n't true."
In setting a tea-table, see that there is not only
TEA VISITERS. *55
enough, but more than enough of cups and saucers,
plates, knives and forks, spoons, napkins, &c. Let
the extra articles be placed near the lady of the
house,— to be distributed, if wanted. We have known
families who had the means and the inclination to be
hospitable, that never sat down to table without
several spare covers, as the French call them, ready
for accidental guests.
Unless you have domestics on whom you can im-
plicitly rely, it is well to go into the eating-room
about ten minutes before the announcement of tea,
and to see that all is right ; that the tea is strong and
properly made, and the pot (which should be scalded
twice) is not filled nearly to overflowing with a super-
abundance of water. The practice of drowning away
all the flavour of the tea is strangely prevalent with
servants ; who are also very apt to neglect scalding
the tea-pot ; and who do not, or will not, remember
that the kettle should be boiling hard at the moment
the water is poured on the tea — otherwise the infusion
will be insipid and tasteless, no matter how liberally
the Chinese plant has been afforded.
If your cook is not habitually a good coffee-maker,
the coffee will most probably be sent in cold, thick,
and weak — for want of some previous supervision.
Let it have that supervision.
We have heard of tea-tables (even in splendid
establishments) being left entirely to the mismanage-
ment of incompetent or negligent servants; so that
when the company sat down, there was found a
deficiency in some of the indispensable appendages;
3G mtss Leslie's behaviour book.
such as spoons, and even forks, and napkins — butter-
knives forgotten, and (worse than all) cooking -butter
served in mistake for the better sort. By-the-bye,
the use of cooking-butter should be abolished in all
genteel-houses. If the butter is not good enough to
eat on the surface of cold bread or on warm cakes, it
is not good enough to eat in the inside of sweet cakes,
or in pastry, or in any thing else ; and is totally unfit
to be mixed with vegetables or sauces. The use of
butter is to make things taste well ; if it makes them
taste ill, let it be entirely omitted : for bad butter is
not only unpalatable, but unwholesome. There are
houses in which the money wasted on one useless
bauble for the drawing-room would furnish the family
with excellent fresh butter for a whole year — enough
for all purposes.
We know, by experience, that it is possible to make
very fine butter even in the State of New York, and
to have it fresh in winter as in summer, though not so
rich and yellow- Let the cows be well fed, well
skeltered, and kept fat and clean — the dairy utensils
always in perfect order—churning done twice or thrice
every week — all the milk worked well out — and the
butter will surely be good.
If cakes for tea have been made at home, and they
have turned out failures, (as is often the case with
home-made cakes where there is not much practice
in baking them,) do not have them brought to table
at all, but send to a shop and get others. It is rude
to set before your guests what you know is unfit for
them to eat. And heavy, tough, ill-baked things are
» TEA VISITERS. 37
discreditable to any house where the means of obtain-
ing better are practicable.
In sending for cakes to a confectioner, do not a
second time allow him to put you off with stale ones.
This many confectioners are in the practice of doijig,
if it is passed over without notice. Stale cakes should
at once be sent back, (with a proper reproof,) and
fresh ones required. Let the confectioner with whom
you deal, understand that he is not to palm off his
stale cakes upon you, and that you will not keep them
when sent. You will then find that fresh ones will
generally be forthcoming. It is always well to send
for cakes in the early part of the afternoon.
Have a pitcher of ice-water on the side-table, and
a tumbler beside every plate — as most persons like tc
finish with a glass of water.
Do not, on sitting down to table, inform your guest
that "you make no stranger of her," or that you fear
she will not be able to "make out" at your plain
table. These apologies are ungenteel and foolish.
If your circumstances will not allow you on any con-
sideration to make a little improvement in your usual
family-fare, your friend is, in all probability, aware
of the fact, and will not wish or expect you to incur
any inconvenient expense on her account. But if you
are known to possess the means of living well, you
ought to do so ; and to consider a good, though not an
extravagantly luxurious table as a necessary part of
your expenditure. There is a vast difference between
laudable economy and mean economy. The latter
(whether it shows itself in bad food, bad fires, bad
38 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOoA
lights, bad servants) is never excused in persons who
dress extravagantly, and live surrounded by costly
furniture, and who are universally known to be
wealthy, and fully able to afford comfort, as well as
If you invite a friend to tea, in whose own family
there is no gentlemen, or no man-servant, it is your
duty previously to ascertain that you can provide
her on that evening with an escort home; and in
giving the invitation, you should tell her so, that she
may know on what to depend. If you keep a
carriage, it will be most kind to send her home in it.
Even if it is your rule to have the entry-lamp
extinguished at a certain hour, let your servants
understand that this rule must be dispensed with, as
long as an evening-visiter remains in the house.
Also, do not have the linen covers put on the
furniture, and the house audibly shut up for the
night, before she has gone. To do this is rude,
because she cannot but receive it as a hint that she
has staid too long.
If your visiter is obliged to go home with no other
escort than your servant-man, apprize him, in time,
that this duty will be expected of him ; desiring that
he takes care to be at hand before ten o'clock.
A lady that has no escort whose services she can
command, ought not to make unexpected tea-visits.
In many cases these visits produce more inconvenience
than pleasure. If you wish to "take tea sociably"
with a friend, inform her previously of your intention.
She will then let you know if she is disengaged on
TEA VISITERS. 39
that evening, or if it is in any way inconvenient to
receive you; and she will herself appoint another
time. Generally, it is best not to volunteer a tea-
visit, but to wait till invited.
If you are engaged to take tea with an intimate
friend, who assures you that you will see none but
the family ; and you afterward receive an invitation
to join a party to a place of public amusement, which
you have long been desirous of visiting, you may
retract your first engagement, provided you send an
apology in due time, telling the exact truth, and
telling it in polite terms. Your intimate friend will
then take no offence, considering it perfectly natural
that you should prefer the concert, the play, or the
exhibition, to a quiet evening passed at her house with
no other guests. But take cart to let her know as
early as possible.* And be careful not to disappoint
her again in a similar manner.
If you are accustomed to taking coffee in the
evening, and have an insuperable dislike to tea, it is
best not to make an unexpected visit — or at least, if
you go at all, go early — so as to allow ample time for
the making of coffee — a much slower process than
that of tea; particularly as there may chance to be
no roasted coffee in the house. Much inconvenience
has been caused by the "sociable visiting" of deter-
mined coffee-drinkers. It is very easy to make green
or black tea at a short notice — but not coffee.
* Where the city-post is to be depended on, a note can always be
6ent in that way.
40 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
In inviting "a few friends," which means a small
select company, endeavour to assort them suitably,
so as not to bring together people who have no
community of tastes, feelings, and ideas. If you mix
the dull and stupid with the bright and animated, the
cold and formal with the frank and lively, the pro-
fessedly serious with the gay and cheerful, the light
with the heavy, and above all, those who pride them-
selves on high birth (high birth in America?) with
those who boast of "'belonging to the people," none
of these "few friends" will enjoy each other's society;
the evening will not go off agreeably, and you and
the other members of your family will have the worst
of it. The pleasantest people in the room will natu-
rally congregate together, and the task of entertain-
ing the unentertainable will devolve on yourself and
your own people.
Still, it is difficult always to assort your company
to your satisfaction and theirs. A very charming
lady may have very dull or very silly sisters. An
intelligent and refined daughter may be unfortunate
in a coarse, ignorant mother, or a prosing, tiresome,
purse-proud father. Some of the most delighted
persons you may wish to invite, may be encumbered
with relations totally incapable of adding any thing
to the pleasure of the evening ; — for instance, the
numerous automatons, whom we must charitably be-
lieve are speechless merely from diffidence, and of
whom we are told, that "if we only knew them," we
should discover them, on intimate acquaintance, to be
"quite intelligent people." Perhaps so. But we
TEA VISITERS. 41
cannot help thinking that when a head is full of ideas,
some of them will involuntarily ooze out and he
manifest. Diffidence is very becoming to young
people, and to those who are new to the world. But
it is hardly credible that it should produce a painful
taciturnity in persons who have passed from youth
into maturity ; and who have enjoyed the advantages
of education and of living in good society. Still
those who, as the French say, have " a great talent
for silence," may redeem themselves from suspicion
of stupidity, by listening attentively and understand-
ingly. A good talker is never displeased with a good
We have often met with young ladies from whom
it was scarcely possible for one of their own sex
to extract more than a few monosyllables at long
intervals ; those intervals being passed in dozing,
rather than in hearing. And yet, if any thing in the
shape of a beau presented itself, the tongues of these
"dumb belles" were immediately loosened, and the
wells of their minds commenced running as glibly as
possible. To be sure, the talk amounted to nothing
definite; but still they did talk, and often became
quite lively in a few minutes. Great is the power of
To return to the tea-table. — Unless you are posi-
tively sure, when you have a visiter, that she drinks
the same tea that is used in your own family, you
should have both black and green on the table. Either
sort is often extremely disagreeable to persons who
take the other. Drinkers of green tea, for instance,
42 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
have generally an unconquerable aversion to black,
as tasting like bay, herbs, &c, and they find in it no
refreshing or exhilarating property. In some, it
produces nausea. Few, on the other hand, dislike
the taste of good green tea, but they assign as a
reason for not drinking it, that it is supposed from
its enlivening qualities to affect the nerves. Judge
Bushrod Washington, who always drank green, and
avoided black, said that, " he took tea as a beverage,
not as a medicine." And there are a vast number of
sensible people in the same category. If your guest
is a votary of green tea, have it made for her, in time
for the essence of the leaves to be well drawn forth.
It is no compliment to give her green tea that is weak
and washy. And do not, at your own table, be so
rude as to lecture her upon the superior wholesome-
ness of black tea. For more than a century, green
tea was universally drunk in every house, and there
was then less talk of nervous diseases than during the
reign of Souchong, — which, by-the-bye, is nearly ex-
ploded in the best European society.
In pouring out, do not fill the cups to the brim.
Always send the cream and sugar round, that each
person may use those articles according to their own
taste. Also, send round a small pot of hot water,
that those who like their tea weak may conveniently
dilute it. • If tea is handed, a servant should, at the
last, carry round a water-pitcher and glasses.
Whether at dinner or tea, if yourself and family
are in the habit of eating fast, (which, by the way, is
a very bad and unwholesome one, and justly cited
TEA VISITERS. 43
against us by our English cousins,) and you see that
your visiter takes her food deliberately, endeavour
(for that time at least) to check the rapidity of your
own mastication, so as not to finish before she has
done, and thus compel her to hurry herself uncom-
fortably, or be left alone while every one round her
is sitting unoccupied and impatient. Or rather, let
the family eat a little more than usual, or seem to do
so, out of politeness to their guest.
When refreshments are brought in after tea, let
them be placed on the centre-table, and handed round
from thence by the gentlemen to the ladies. If there
are only four or five persons present, it may be more
convenient for all to sit round the table — which should
not be cleared till after all the visiters have gone,
that the things may again be offered before the de-
parture of the guests.
'If a friend makes an afternoon call, and you wish
her to stay and take tea, invite her to do so at once,
as soon as she has sat down ; and do not wait till she
has risen to depart. If she consents to stay, there
will then be ample time to make any additional pre-
paration for tea that may be expedient ; and she will
also know, at once, that you have no engagement for
the evening, and that she is not intruding on your
time, or preventing you from going out. If you are
intimate friends, and your guest is disposed to have a
long chat, she will do well to ask you, at the begin-
ning, if you are disengaged, or design going out that
We knew a very sensible and agreeable lady in
44 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
Philadelphia, who liking better to have company at
home than to go out herself, made a rule of inviting
every day, half a dozen friends (not more) to take tea
with her — just as many as could sit round the table,
" with ample room and verge enough." These friends
she assorted judiciously. And therefore she never
asked a whole family at once; those who were left
out understanding that they would be invited another
time. For instance, she would send a note for the
father and mother only — to meet another father and
mother or two. A few weeks after, a billet would
come for the young people only. But if there were
several young people, some were delayed — thus — " I
wish James and Eliza to take tea with me this even-
ing, to meet so-and-so. Another time I promise myself
the pleasure of Edward's company, and Mary's."
This distribution of invitations never gave offence.
Those who were honoured with the acquaintance
of such a lady were not likely to be displeased at so
sensible a mode of receiving them. These little tea-
drinkings were always pleasant, and often delightful.
The hostess was well qualified to make them so.
Though the refreshments were of the best kind,
and in sufficient abundance, and the fires, lights, &c.
all as they should be, there was no ostentatious dis-
play, and the ladies were dressed no more than if
they were spending a quiet evening at home — party-
finery being interdicted — also, such needle-work as
required constant attention to every stitch.
If you have a friend who is in somewhat precarious
health, and who is afraid of being out in the night
TEA VISITERS. 45
air, or who lives in a distant park of the town, invito
her to dinner, or to pass the day, rather than to tea.
She will then be able to get home before twilight.
There is in Boston a very fashionable and -very
distinguished lady, who, since her return from Europe,
has relinquished the custom of giving large parties;
and now entertains her friends by, almost every day,
having two or three to dine with her, — by invitation.
These dinners are charming. The hour is according
to the season — earlier in winter, later in summer — the
guests departing before dark, and the lady always
having the evening to herself.
We know a gentleman in Philadelphia, who every
Monday has a family-dinner at his house, for all his
children and grandchildren, who there meet and enjoy
themselves before the eyes of the father and mother
— a friend or two being also invited. Nothing can be
more pleasant than to see them all there together,
none staying away, — for parents, children, sons-in-
law, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law,
are all at peace, and all meeting in friendship — un^
happily, a rare case, where there is a large connec-
tion, and considerable wealth.
We wish that social intercourse was more frequently
conducted on the plan of the few examples above
Should chance-visiters come in before the family
have gone to tea, let them at once be invited to par-
take of that repast ; which they will of course decline,
if they have had tea already. In a well-provided
house, there can be no difficulty in adding something
46 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
to the family tea-table, which, in genteel life, should
never be discreditably parsimonious.
It is a very mean practice, for the members of the
family to slip out of the parlour, one by one at a time,
and steal away into the eating-room, to avoid inviting
their visiter to accompany them. The truth is always
suspected by these separate exits, and the length of
absence from the parlour — and is frequently betrayed
by the rattle of china, and the pervading fumes of hot
cakes. How much better to meet the inconvenience
(and it cannot be a great one) by decently conducting
your accidental guest to the table, unless he says he
has already taken tea, and will amuse himself with a
book while the family are at theirs.
Casual evening visiters should avoid staying too
late. Ten o'clock, in our country, is the usual time
to depart, or at least to begin departing. If the visit
is unduly prolonged, there may be evident signs of
irrepressible drowsiness in the heads of the family,
which, when perceived, will annoy the guest, who must
then feel that he has stayed too long — and without
being able to excuse himself with any approach to the
elegance of William Spencer's apology to the charm-
ing Lady Anne Hamilton.
Too late I stay'd — forgive the crime;
Unheeded flew the hours,
For noiseless falls the foot of Time
That only treads on flowers.
Ah ! who with clear account remarks
The ebbing of the glass,
When all its sands are diamond sparks,
That dazzle as they pass !
THE ENTREE. 4T
A lady is said to have the entree of her friend's
room, when she is allowed or assumes the privilege of
entering it familiarly at all times, and without any
previous intimation- — a privilege too often abused.
In many cases, the visited person has never really
granted this privilege, (and after growing wise by
experience, she rarely will ;) but the visiter, assuming
that she herself must, under all circumstances, be
welcome, carries her sociability so far as to become
troublesome and inconvenient. Consequently, their
friendship begins to abate in its warmth. No one
likes to be annoyed, or be intruded on at all hours.
So the visited begins to think of the adage, "My room
is my castle," and the visiter finds that seeing a friend
under all circumstances somewhat diminishes respect,
and that "familiarity brings contempt."
There are few occasions on which it is well, on
entering a house, to run directly to the chamber of
your friend, and to bolt into her room without knock-
ing; or the very instant after knocking, before she
has time to desire you to enter, or to make the
slightest arrangement for your reception. You may
find her washing, or dressing, or in bed, or eveu
49 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
engaged in repairing clothes, — or the room may be in
great disorder, or the chambermaid in the act of
cleaning it. No one likes unseasonable interruptions,
even ffom a very dear friend. That friend would be
dearer still, if she had sufficient tact and consideration
to refrain from causing these annoyances. Also,
friendships are not always lasting — particularly those
that become inordinately violent, and where both
parties, by their excessive intimacy, put themselves
too much into each other's power. Very mortifying
disclosures are sometimes made after a quarrel, be-
tween two Hermias and Helenas, when recrimination
begins to come, and mutual enmity takes the place of
A familiar visit will always begin more pleasantly,
if the visiter enquires of the servant at the door if
the lady she wishes to see is at home, and then goes
into the parlour, and stays there till she has sent her
name, and ascertained that she can be received up-
stairs.* Then (and not till then) let her go to her
friend's room, and still remember to knock at the door
before she enters. Let her have patience till her
friend bids her come in, or has time to rise, cross the
room, and come to open the door, if it is fastened.
It is extremely rude, on being admitted to a private
apartment, to look curiously about, as if taking an
inventory of all that is to be seen. We have known
ladies whose eyes were all the time gazing round, and
* If the visiter has been properly announced, a well-trained
servant will, in all probability, run up before her, and open th*
THE ENTREE. 49
even slily peering under tables, sofas, &c. ; turning
their heads to look after every person who chanced to
be moving about the room, and giving particular
attention to whatever seemed to be in disorder or out
of place. Nay, we have known one who prided her-
self upon the gentility of her forefathers and fore-
mothers, rise from her seat when her hostess opened
a bureau-drawer, or a closet-door, and cross the room,
to stand by and inspect the contents of said bureau
or closet, while open — a practice very common with
ill-taught children, but whicn certainly should be
rebuked out of them long before they are grown up.
Make no remark upon the work in which you find
your friend engaged. If she lays it aside, desire her
not to quit it because of your presence ; but propound
no questions concerning it. Do not look over her
books, and ask to borrow them. In short, meddle
Some ladies never enter the room of an intimate
friend without immediately exclaiming against its heat
or its cold — seldom the latter, but very frequently the
former, as it is rather fashionable to be always too
warm ; perhaps because it makes them seem younger.
If they really are uncomfortably warm on a very cold
day, we think it can only be from the glow "produced
by the exercise of walking. This glow must naturally
suoside in a few minutes, if they would sit down and
wait with a little patience, or else avail themselves of
the fan which ought to be at hand in every room.
"We have known ladies of this warm temperament, who
had sufficient consideration always to carry a pocket-
50 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
fan in winter as well as summer. This is far better
than to break out instantly with a complaint of the
heat of the room, or to run and throw up a window-
sash, or fling open the door, at the risk of giving cold
to others. No intimacy can authorize these freedoms
in a cold day, unless permission has first been asked,
and sincerely granted.
If you are perfectly certain that you have really
the entree of your friend's room, and even if she has
the same of yours, you have no right ever to extend
that privilege to any other person who may chance to
be with you when you go to see her. It is taking an
unjustifiable liberty to intrude a stranger upon the
privacy of her chamber. If another lady is with you,
waive your privilege of entre'e for that time, take your
companion into the parlour, and send up the names
of both, and do not say, " Oh ! come up, come up — I
am on no ceremony with her, and I am sure she will
not mind you." And how can you be sure ? Perhaps
in reality, she will mind her very much, and be
greatly discomfited, though too polite to appear so.
There are certain unoccupied females so over-
friendly as to take the entree* of the whole house.
These are, generally, ultra-neighbourly neighbours,
who run in at all hours of the day and evening;
ferret out the ladies of the family, wherever they may
be — up-stairs or down; watch all their proceedings
when engaged, like good housewives, in inspecting the
attics, the store-rooms, the cellars, or the kitchens.
Never for a moment do they seem to suppose that.
their hourly visits may perhaps be inconvenient or
THE ENTREE. 5]
unseasonable; or too selfish to abate their frequency,
even when they suspect them to be so, these inveterate
sociablists make their incursions at all avenues. If
they find that the front-door is kept locked, they glide
down the area-steps, and get in through the basement.
Or else, they discover some back-entrance, by which
they can slip in at "the postern-gate" — that is, alley-
wise : — sociablists are not proud. At first, the socia-
list will say, on making her third or fourth appear-
ance for the day, "Who comes to see you oftener
than I?" But after awhile even this faint shadow of
an apology is omitted — or changed to "Nobody minds
me." She is quite domesticated in your house — an
absolute habitue. She sees all, hears all, knows all
your concerns. Of course she does. Her talk to you
is chiefly gossip, and therefore her talk about you is
chiefly the same. She is au-fait of every thing con-
cerning your table, for after she has had her dinner
at her own home, she comes bolting into your dining-
room and "sits by," and sees you eat yours. It is
well if she does not begin with "a look in" upon you
before breakfast. She finds out everybody that
comes to your house; knows all your plans for going
to this place or that; is well acquainted with every
article that you wear ; is present at the visits of all
your friends, and hears all their conversation. Hei
own is usually "an infinite deal of nothing."
A sociablist is commonly what is called good-
natured, or else you would not endure her at all — and,
you believe, for a time, that she really has an extra-
ordinary liking for you. After awhile, you are unde-
52 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
ceived. A coolness ensues, if not a quarrel, and yon
are glad to find that she carries her sociability to
another market, and that a new friend is now suffering
all that you have experienced. To avoid the danger
of being overwhelmed by the sociability of an idle
neighbour, discourage the first indications of undue
intimacy, by making your own visits rather few, and
rather far between. A young lady of good sense,
and of proper self-respect, will never be too lavish of
her society; and if she has pleasant neighbours, will
visit them always in moderation. And their friend-
ship will last the longer.
Fashion, in its various unmeaning freaks, sometimes
decrees that it is not "stylish to introduce strangers."
But this is a whim that, whenever attempted, has
neither become general nor lasted long. It has seldom
been adopted by persons of good sense and good
manners — and very rarely by that fortunate class
whose elevate'" 1 standing in society enables them to
act as they please, in throwing aside the fetters of
absurd conventionalities, and who can afford to do so.
Non-introduction has been found, in many instances,
to produce both inconvenience and vexation. Per-
sons who had long known each other by reputation,
and who would have rejoiced in an opportunity of
becoming personally acquainted, have met in society,
without being aware of it till afterward; and the
opportunity has never recurred. One of our most
distinguished literary Americans was seated at a dinner-
party next to an European lady equally distinguished
in literature; but as there were no introductions, he
was not aware of her presence till the party was over
and the lady gone. The lady knew who the gentle-
man was, and would gladly have conversed with him ;
but as he did not speak, because he was not intro-
duced, she had not courage to commence — though she
might have done so with perfect propriety, considering
who he was, and who she was.
Still worse — from not knowing who are present,
you may inadvertently fall upon a subject of conversa-
tion that, for private reasons, may be extremely irk-
some or painful to some of the company ; for instance,
in discussing a public character. Severe or mortifying
remarks may unintentionally be made on the near
relative, or on the intimate companion, of one whom
you would on no account desire to offend. And in
this way you may make enemies, where, under other
circumstances, you would have made friends. In such
cases, it is the duty of the hostess, or ^f any mutual
acquaintance, immediately to introduce both parties,
and thus prevent any further animadversions that,
may be mal-a-propos, or in any way annoying. It is
safest, when among strangers, to refrain &om bitter
animadversions on anybody.
In introducing a gentleman to a lady, address her
54 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
first, as for instance — "Miss Smith, permit me to
make you acquainted with Mr. Jones" — or, "Mrs.
Farley, allow me to present Mr. Wilson" — that is,
you must introduce the gentleman to the lady, rather
than the lady to the gentleman. Also, if one lady is
married and the other single, present the single lady
to the matron, as — " Miss Thomson, let me introduce
you to Mrs. Williams."*
In introducing a foreigner, it is proper to present
him as "Mr. Howard from England" — "Mr. Dupont
from France" — "Mr. Wenzel from Germany." If
you know of what European city he is a resident, it is
better still, to say that he is "from London," —
"Paris," — "Hamburg." Likewise, in introducing
one of your own countrymen very recently returned
from a distant part of the world, make him known as
"Mr. Davis, just from China" — "Mr. Edwards, lately
from Spain" — "Mr. Gordon, recently from South
America." These slight specifications are easily
made ; and they afford, at once, an opening for con-
versation between the two strangers, as it will be
perfectly natural to ask "the late arrived" something
about the country he has last visited, or at least
about his voyage.
When presenting a member of Congress, mention
the State to which he belongs, as, "Mr. Hunter of
Virginia" — "Mr. Chase of Ohio," &c. Recollect that
both senators and gentlemen of the house of repre-
* It is well to present a lady or gentleman from another city,
as "Miss Ford of New York" — "Mrs. Stephens of Boston" —
" Mr. Warren of New Orleans."
sentatives are members of Congress — Congress in-
cluding the two legislative bodies. In introducing a
governor, designate the state he governs — as, " Gover-
nor Penington of New Jersey." For the chief
magistrate of the republic, say simply — "The Presi-
In introducing an officer, tell always to which ser-
vice he belongs — as " Captain Turner of the Navy" —
" Captain Anderson of the Army."
We regret the custom of continuing to give military
titles to militia officers. Foreigners are justly diverted
at finding soi-disant generals and colonels among men
who fill very subordinate stations in civil life — men
that, however respectable in their characters, may be
deficient in the appearance, manners, or education
that should belong to a regular officer. This foolish
practice can only be done away by the militia officers
themselves (those that really are gentlemen — and
there are many) magnanimously declining to be called
generals, colonels, &c. except on parade occasions;
and when actually engaged in militia duty. Let them
omit these titles on their cards, and request that no
letters be directed to them with such superscriptions ;
and that in introductions or in conversation th>ey may
be only addressed as plain Mr. It is still more absurd
to continue these military titles long after they have
ceased to hold the office, — and above all, to persist in
them when travelling in fdreign countries, tacitly
permitting it to be supposed that they own commissions
in the regular service.
English tourists (even when they know better)
56 misb Leslie's behaviour book.
make this practice a handle for pretending, in their
books, that the officers of the American army are so
badly paid, or so eager to make additional money,
that they exercise all sorts of trades, and engage in
the humblest occupations to help themselves along.
They tell of seeing a captain stitching coats, a major
making shoes, a colonel driving a stage, and a general
selling butter in market — sneeringly representing them
as regular officers of the United States army. Is it
true that we republicans have such a hankering after
titles? If so, "reform it altogether." And let one
of the first steps be to omit the "Esq/' in directing a
letter to an American citizen, for who. the title can
have no meaning. In England it signifies the pos-
sessor of an estate in the country, including the office
of justice of peace. In America, it means a magis-
trate only; who may live in a city, and own not an
inch of ground anywhere. But why should all
manner of men, of all trades, and professions, expect
to see an "Esq." after their name, when with reference
to them, it can have no rational application ?
An introduction should always be given in a distinct
and audible voice, so that the name may be clearly
understood. The purpose is defeated, if it is mur-
mured over in so low a tone as to be unintelligible
And yet how often is this the case ; for what reason
it is difficult to divine. It is usual for the introducee
to repeat the name of the introduced. This will prove
that it has really been heard. For instance, if Mrs.
Smith presents Miss Brook to Miss Miles, Miss Miles
immediately says, "Miss Brook" — or better still —
"Miss Brook, I am glad to meet you," or something
similar. Miss Miles then begins a talk.
If you introduce yourself to a lady whom you wish
to know, but who does not know you, address her by
her name, express your desire to make her acquaint-
ance, and then give her your card. Replying that it
affords her pleasure to meet you, she will give you her
hand, and commence a conversation, so as to put you
quite at ease after your self-introduction.
In introducing members of your own family, always
mention, audibly, the name. It is not sufficient to
say "my fatjtar," or "my mother" — "my son,"
"my daughfl^— "my brother," or "my sister."
There may be more than one surname in the same
family. But say, "my father, Mr. Warton," — "my
daughter, Miss Wood" — or "my daughter-in-law, Mrs.
Wood"— "my sister, Miss Mary Ramsay" — "my bro-
ther, Mr. James Ramsay," &c. It is best in all these
things to be explicit. The eldest daughter is usually
introduced by her surname only — as " Miss Bradford"
— her younger sisters, as." Miss Maria Bradford" —
"Miss Harriet Bradford."
In presenting a clergyman, put the word "Reve-
rend" before his name — unless he is a bishop, and then,
of course, the word "Bishop" suffices. The head of a
college-department introduce as "Professor" — and it
is to them only that the title properly belongs,
though arrogated by all sorts of public exhibitors,
mesmerists and jugglers included.
Where the company is large, the ladies of the house
should have tact enough to avoid introducing and
58 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
placing together persons who cannot possibly assimi
late, or take pleasure in each other's society. The
dull, and the silly, will be far happier with their com-
peers. To a woman of talent, and a good conversa-
tionist, it is a cruelty to put her unnecessarily in
contact with stupid, or unmeaning people. She is
wasted and thrown away upon such as are neither
amusing nor amusable. Neither is it well to bring
together a gay, lively woman of the world, and a
solemn, serious, repulsive dame, who is a contemner
of the world and all its enjoyments. There can be no
conversation that is mutually agreeable, between a
real lady of true delicacy and refinement, and a so-
called lady whose behaviour and talk are coarse and
vulgar, — or between a woman of highly cultivated
mind, and one who is grossly ignorant of every thing
connected with books, and who boasts of that igno-
rance. We have heard a lady of fashion say, " Thank
God, I never read." The answer might well have
have been, "You need not tell us that."
In inviting but a small company, it is indispensable
to the pleasure of all, that you ask none who are
strikingly unsuitable to the rest — or whose presence
will throw a damp on conversation. Especially avoid
bringing into the same room, persons who are at
notorious enmity with each other, even if, unhappily,
they should be members of the same family. Those
who are known as adversaries should be invited on
Avoid giving invitations to bores. They will come
The word "bore" has an unpleasant and an inele-
gant sound. Still, we have not, as yet, found any
substitute that so well expresses the meaning, — which,
we opine, is a dull, tiresome man, or "a weariful
woman," either inveterately silent, or inordinately
talkative, but never saying any thing worth hearing,
or worth remembering — people whom you receive un-
willingly, and whom you take leave of with joy; and
who, not having perception enough to know that their
visits are always unwelcome, are the most sociable
visiters imaginable, and the longest stayers.
In a conversation at Abbotsford, there chanced to
be something said in reference to bores — those beings
in whom "man delights not, nor woman neither."
Sir "Walter Scott asserted, humourously, that bores
were always "good respectable people." "Other-
wise," said he "there could be no bores. For if they
Were also scoundrels or brutes, we would keep no
measures with them, but at once kick them out the
house, and shut the door in their faces."
When you wish an introduction to a stranger lady,
apply to your hostess, or to some of the family, or to
one of the guests that is acquainted with that lady:
you will then be led up and presented to her. Do not
expect the stranger to be brought to you; it is your
place to go to her.
If you are requested by a female friend to introduce
her to a distinguished gentleman, a public character,
be not so ungenerous as to go immediately and con-
spicuously to inform him of the fact. But spare her
delicacy, by deferring the ceremony for a while; and
60 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
then take an opportunity of saying to him, "I shall
be glad to make you acquainted with my friend Miss
Morris. Come with me, and I will introduce you."
When the introduction has thus taken place, you may
with propriety leave them together to entertain each
other for awhile; particularly if both parties are
capable of doing so. And then, after a quarter of an
hour's conversation, let the lady release the gentle-
man from further attendance, by bowing to him, and
turning to some other acquaintance who may not be
far off. She can leave Mm much more easily than he
can leave her, and it will be better to do so in proper
time, than to detain him too long. It is generally in
his power to return to her before the close of the
evening, and if he is pleased with her society, he will
probably make an opportunity of doing so.
If he is what is called a lion, consideration for the
rest of the company should admonish her not to
monopolize him. But lions usually know how to get
away adroitly. By-the-bye, she must not talk to him
of his professional celebrity, or ask him at once for
We saw no less a person than Charles Dickens
compelled, at a large party, to devote the whole even-
ing to writing autographs for a multitude of young
ladies— many of whom, not satisfied with obtaining
one of his signatures for themselves, desired half a
dozen others for " absent friends." All conversation
ceased with the first requisition for an autograph
He. had no chance of saying any thing. We were a
**ttle ashamed of our fair townswomen ,
Should it fall to your lot to introduce any of the
English nobility, take care (before hand) to irtform
yourself exactly what their titles really are. Ameri-
cans are liable to make sad blunders in these things.
It may be well to know that a duke is the highest title
of British nobility, and that his wife is a duchess.
His eldest son is a marquis as long as his father lives,
on whose demise the marquis becomes a duke. The
wife of a marquis is a marchioness. There are a few
marquises whose fathers were not dukes. The younger
sons are termed Lord Henry, Lord Charles, Lord
John, &c. The daughters Lady Caroline, Lady Au-
gusta - , Lady Julia. The family name is generally
quite different from the title. Thus, the name of the
Duke of Richmond is Lenox — that of the Duke of
Rutland, Manners. The family name of the Duke of
Norfolk (who ranks first of the English nobility) is
Howard. The present Duke of Northumberland's
name is Algernon Percy. Arthur Wellesley was that
of the great Duke of Wellington. His eldest son was
Marquis of Douro, and his second son Lord Charles
Wellesley. The children of a marquis are called Lord
Frederick, or Lord Henry, and Lady Louisa, or Lady
The next title is viscount, as Viscount Palmerston.
The next is earl, whose wife is a countess, and the
children may be Lord Georges and Lady Marys.
After the viscounts come the barons, whose chil-
dren are denominated the Honourable Miss, or Mr.
John Singleton Copley, (whose father was Copley,
the celebrated American painter,) is now Baron
62 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
Lyndhurst. His eldest daughter is the Hon. Miss
Copley. In common parlance, barons are always
termed lords. Some few have two titles — as Lord Say
and Sele — Lord Brougham and Vaux. After William
the Fourth had suddenly dissolved the parliament that
held out so long against passing the reform bill, and
the king, appointing a new cabinet, had placed Lord
Brougham at the head of the ministry, a ridiculous
comic song came out at one of the minor theatres,
implying that now his majesty has swept out the whole
parliament, "he takes up his broom and valks,"
(Brougham and Vaux.)
When the widow of a nobleman marries a man who
has no title, she always retains hers. Thus when the
widow of the Earl of Mansfield married Colonel Gre-
ville, (a nephew of the Earl of Warwick,) — on their
door-plate the names were — "The Countess Dowager
of Mansfield, and the Hon. Colonel Greville," — a
rather long inscription. A nobleman's daughter
marrying a commoner, retains her original title of
Lady, but takes his surname — thus, Lady Charlotte
Campbell, whose father was Duke of Argyle, became,
on her marriage with Dr. Bury, a clergyman, Lady
Charlotte Bury. It will be understood that if a
nobleman's daughter marries a nobleman, her title
merges in his — but if she marries a commoner, she
retains what title she had originally — her husband, of
course, obtaining no rank by his marriage.
The title of a baronet is Sir — as Sir Francis Bur-
dett. Sir Walter Scott. His children are Mr. and
Miss, without any "Hon." affixed to their names.
Baronets are a grade below barons, but the title is
hereditary, descending to the eldest son or next male
heir. In directing to a baronet, put "Bart." after his
name. A knight is also called Sir, as Sir Thomas
Lawrence, Sir Edwin Landseer, &c. ; but his title being
only for life, dies with him.* It is always conferred
by the sovereign touching his shoulder with a sword,
and saying, for instance, "Rise up, Sir Francis Chan-
try." In writing to a knight, put "Knt." The wives
of both baronets and knights are called Lady. The
wife of Sir John Franklin (who was knighted) is Lady
Franklin — not Lady Jane Franklin, as has been erro-
neously supposed. She could not be Lady Jane unless
her father was. a nobleman.
A nobleman always signs his title only, without
designating his exact rank — the Duke of Athol signing
himself "Athol"— the Duke of Bedford, "Bedford"
— the Marquis of Granby, "Granby" — the Earl of
Chesterfield, "Chesterfield," &c. The wives of peers
give their Christian name with their title — as Isa-
bella Buccleuch — Margaret Northampton — Elizabeth
The English bishops are addressed in letters as the
Lord Bishop of Rochester, the Lord Bishop of Bath
and Wells. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is
Primate of England, — (Head of the English Church,)
is called His Grace, or Your Grace. The bishops
are all (by virtue of their office) members of the
* Distinguished men of all professions, doctors, lawyers, artists,
authors, and officers of the army and navy, frequently receive the
honour of knighthood.
64 miss Leslie's behxviour book.
House of Peers or Lords. They sign their Christian
name with the title of their bishopric, as John Durham
— William Oxford.
All full noblemen have an hereditary seat in the
House of Peers, which they take on attaining the age
of twenty-one, and it continues while they live.
Their younger sons, the Lord Johns and Lord Frede-
ricks, can only have a seat in the House of Commons,
and to that they must be elected, like the other mem-
bers. Baronets, not being peers, must also be elected
Americans going to England would do well to look
over a book of the British Peerage, so as to save
themselves from making blunders, which are much
ridiculed in a country where little allowance is made
for republican habits and for republican ignorance of
what appertains to monarchical institutions.* It
would not be amiss even to know that a full coat of
arms, including shield, supporters, crest, and scroll
with a motto, belongs only to the chief of a noble
family; and that the younger branches are entitled
only to the crest, which is the head of the same animal
that stands erect on each side of the shield as if to sup-
port it, such as stags, foxes, bears, vultures, &c. A
baronet has a shield only, with a bloody or wounded
hand over the top.
Our countrymen abroad sometimes excite ill-con-
cealed mirth, by the lavish use they make of titles
when they chance to find themselves among the no-
* It would be well if all the public offices at Washington were
furnished with copies of the British Peerage. Perhaps they are.
CONDUCT IN THE STREET. I 66
bility. They should learn that none but servants or
people of the" lower classes make constant use of the
terms "my lord," and "my lady" — "your lordship,"
or "your ladyship" — "your grace," &c, in conversing
with persons of rank. Formerly it was the custom,
but it is long since obsolete, except, as we have
said, from domestics or dependants. Address them
simply as Lord Derby, or Lord Dunmore — Lady
Wilton, Lady Mornington, &c.
CONDUCT IN THE STREET.
When three ladies are walking together, it is better
for one to keep a little in advance of the other two,
than for all three to persist in maintaining one un-
broken line. They cannot all join in conversation
without talking across each other — a thing that, in-doors
or out-of-doors, is awkward, inconvenient, ungenteel,
and should always be avoided. Also, three ladies
walking abreast occupy too much of the pavement,
and therefore incommode the other passengers. Three
young men sometimes lounge along the pavement, arm
in arm. Three young gentlemen never do so.
If you meet a lady with whom you have become
but slightly acquainted, and had merely a little conver-
sation, (for instance, at a party or a morning visit,) and
who moves in a circle somewhat higher or moro
ti6 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
fashionable than your own, it is safest to wait till she
recognises you. Let her not sec in you a disposition
to obtrude yourself on her notice.
It is not expected that all intimacies formed at
watering-places shall continue after the parties have
returned to their homes. A mutual bow when meeting
in the street is sufficient. But there is no inter-
changing of visits, unless both ladies have, before
parting, testified a desire to continue the acquaintance.
In this case, the lady who is eldest, or palpably
highest in station, makes the first call. It is not
customary for a young lady to make the first visit to a
When meeting them in the street, always speak first
to your milliner, mantua-maker, seamstress, or to any
one you have been in the practice of employing. To
pass without notice any servant that you know, is
rude and unfeeling, as they will attribute it to pride,
not presuming to speak to you themselves, unless in
reply. There are persons who having accepted, when
in the country, much kindness from the'country-people,
are ashamed to recognise them when they come to
town, on account of their rustic or unfashionable
dress. This is a very vulgar, contemptible, and
foolish pride; and is always seen through, and de-
spised. There is no danger of plain country-people
being mistaken for vulgar city-people. In our coun-
try, there is no reason for keeping aloof from any
who are respectable in character and appearance.
Those to be avoided are such as wear tawdry finery,
paint their faces, and leer out of the corners of their
GGSP-CTT TX THE STREET *> t
eyes, looking disreputably, even if they are not disre-
putable in reality.
When a gentleman meets a lady with whom his
acquaintance is very slight, (perhaps nothing more
than a few words of talk at a party,) he allows her the
option of continuing the acquaintance or not, at her'
pleasure ; therefore, he waits till she recognises him,
and till she evinces it by a bow, — he looking at her to
give the opportunity. Thus, if she has no objection
to numbering him among her acquaintances, she de-
notes it by bowing first. American ladies never
curtsey in the street. If she has any reason to dis- &
approve of his character or habits, she is perfectly ■
justifiable in "cutting" him, as it is termed. Let her
bow very coldly the first time, and after that, not at
Young ladies should yield the wall to old ladies.
Gentlemen do so to all ladies.
In some cities it is .the custom for all gentlemen to
give their arm to all ladies, when walking with them.
In others, a gentleman's arm is neither offered nor ~,
taken, unless in the evening, on slippery pavements,
or when the streets are very muddy. A lady only
takes the arm of her husband, her affianced lover, or
of her male relatives. In the countryAhe custom is
different. There, a gentleman, when walking with
a lady, always gives her his arm ; and is much
offended when, on offering his arm, the lady refuses
to take it. Still, if it is contrary to the custom of
her place, she can explain it to him delicately, and he
will at once see the propriety of her declining.
G8 mips Leslie's behavioub book.
When a lady is walking between two gentlemen,
she should divide her conversation as equally us prac-
ticable, or address most of it to him who is most of a
stranger to her. He, with whom she is least on
ceremony, will excuse her.
A gentleman on escorting a lady to her own home,
must not leave her till he has rung the bell, and
waited till the servant has come and opened the door,
and till she is actually in the house. Men who know
no better, think it sufficient to walk with her to the
foot of the steps and there take their departure,
leaving her to get in as she can. This we have seen —
but not often, and the offenders were not Americans.
If you stop a few minutes in the street to talk to an
acquaintance, draw to one side of the pavement near
the wall, so as not to impede the passengers — or you
may turn and walk with her as far as the next corner.
And never stop to talk in the middle of a crossing.
To speak loudly in the street is exceedingly ungenteel,
and foolish, as what you say will be heard by all who
pass by. To call across the way to an acquaintance,
is very unlady-like. It is best to hasten over, and
speak to her, if you have any thing of importance to
When a stranger offers to assist you across a
brimming gutter, or over a puddle, or a glair of
slippery ice, do not hesitate, or decline, as if you
thought he was taking an unwarrantable liberty. He
means nothing but civility. So accept it frankly, and
thank him for it.
When you see persons slip down on the ice, do not
CONDUCT IN THE STREET. 59
laugh at them. There is no fun in being hurt, yg in
being mortified by a fall in the public street; and we
know not how a lady can see any thing diverting in
so painful a circumstance. It is more feminine, on
witnessing such a sight, to utter an involuntary scream
than a shout of laughter. And still more so, to stop
and ascertain if the person that fell has been hurt.
If, on stopping an omnibus, you find that a dozen
people are already seated in it, draw back, and refuse
to add to the number ; giving no heed to the assertion
of the driver, that "there is plenty of room." The
passengers will not say so, and you have no right to
crowd them all, even if you are willing to be crowded
yourself — a thing that is extremely uncomfortable, and
very injurious to your dress, which may, in conse-
quence, be so squeezed and rumpled as never to look
well again. None of the omnibuses are large enough
to accommodate even twelve grown people comfortably;
and that number is the utmost the law permits. A
child occupies more than half the space of a grown
person, yet children are brought into omnibuses ad
libitum. Ten grown persons are as many as can be
really well seated in an omnibus — twelve are too
many; and a lady will always regret making the
thirteenth — and her want of consideration in doing so
will cause her to be regarded with unfavourable eyes
by the other passengers. It is better for her to go
into a shop, and wait for the next omnibus, or even to
walk home, unless it is actually raining.
Have your Sixpence ready in your fingers a few
minutes before you are to get out; and you may
<0 MISS LESLIE ' BEHAVI01 R BO.OK.
rermest any gentleman near you to hand it up to the
driver. So many accidents have happened from the
driver setting off before a lady was entirely out of the
vehicle and safely landed in the street, that it is well
to desire the gentleman not to hand up the sixpence
till after you are fairly clear of the steps.
"When expecting to ride in an omnibus, take care to
have sufficient small change in your purse — that is,
sixpences. We have seen, when a quarter-dollar has
been handed up, and the driver was handing down the
change, that it has fallen, and been scattered among
the straw. There was no stopping to search for it,
and therefore the ride cost twenty-five cents instead
of six: the driver, of course, finding the change him-
self, as soon as he got rid of all his passengers.
It is most imprudent to ride in an omnibus with
much money in your purse. Pickpockets of genteel
appearance are too frequently among the passengers.
"We know a gentleman who in this way lost a pocket-
book containing eighty dollars; and various ladies
have had their purses taken from them, by well-
dressed passengers. If you are obliged to have money
of any consequence about you, keep your hand all the
time in that pocket.
If the driver allows a drunken man to come into an
omnibus, the ladies will find.it best to get out; at
least those whose seats are near his. It is, however,
the duty of the gentlemen to insist on such fellows
being refused admittance where there are ladies.
No lady should venture to ride in an omnibus after
dark, unless she is escorted by a gentleman whom she
knows. She had better walk home, even underlie
protection of a servant. If alone in an omnibus at
night, she is liable to meet with improper company,
and perhaps be insulted.
When you go out shopping, it is well to take with
you some written cards, inscribed with your residence
as well as your name. For this purpose to use en-
graved visiting-cards is an unnecessary expense. That
there may be no mistake, let your shopping-cards con-
tain not only your street and number, but the side of
the way, and between what streets your house is situ-
ated. This minuteness is particularly useful in Phila-
delphia, where the plan and aspect of the streets is so
similar. Much inconvenience, disappointment, and
delay have resulted from parcels being left at wrong
places. If you are staying at a hotel, give also the
number of your chamber, otherwise the package may
be carried in mistake to the apartment of some other
lady ; the servants always knowing the number of the
rooms, but not always remembering the names of the
occupants ; usually speaking of the ladies and gentle-
men as No. 25, No. 42, &c.
There is another advantage in having cards with
you when you go out shopping : if you should chance
72 .miss Leslie's behaviour look.
to %rget your reticule, or handkerchief, and leave it
on the counter, the shopkeeper will know exactly
by the card where to send it, or for whom to keep
it till called for.
If you intend to purchase none but small articles,
take but little money in your purse, so that if you
chance to lose it, the loss may not be great.* When
you buy articles of any consequence, they will always
be sent home at your request — and (unless you keep
a standing account at that store) desire the bill to be
sent along ; and sent at an hour when you will cer-
tainly be at hand to pay it. Be careful to take re-
ceipts for the payment; and keep the receipts on a
file or wire. We have known instances when, from
the clerk or storekeeper neglecting or delaying to
cross out an account as soon as paid, the same bill
was inadvertently sent twice over ; and then by having
the receipt to show, the necessity of paying it twice
over was obviated. Look carefully at every item of
the bill, and see that all is correct. Sometimes
(though these oversights are of rare occurrence) the
same article may accidentally be set down twice in
the same bill. But this is easily rectified by taking
the bill to the storekeeper, and showing it to him
In subscribing for a magazine or newspaper, and
paying in advance, (as you always should,) be especially
careful of the receipts given to you at paying. So
many persons are in the habit of allowing these
* When circumstances render it expedient to carry much money
out with you, divide it; putting half in one purse or pocket-book.
and half in another, and put these portions into two pockets.
accounts to run on for years, that if you neglect
preserving your receipts, and cannot produce them
afterward, you may be unintentionally classed among
the delinquents, and have no means of proving satis-
factorily that you have really paid.
Many ladies keep a day-book, in which they set
«lown, regularly, all the money they have expended
on that day ; adding up the whole every week. An
excellent plan, and of great importance to every one
who is mistress of a family.
In making purchases for other persons, have bills
made out; and send the bills (receipted) with 'the
articles purchased, as an evidence of the exact price
of the things, and that they were paid for punctually.
The friends that have commissioned you to buy them,
should immediately repay you. Much inconvenience
may be felt by a lady whose command of money is
small, when a friend living in a distant place, and
probably in opulent circumstances, neglects or post-
pones the payment of these sums. She should, at the
beginning, send money amply sufficient to make these
purchases. It is enough that you take the trouble of
going to the stores, selecting the desired articles, and
having them packed and sent off. She has no right to
put you to the slightest pecuniary inconvenience.
There have been instances, where articles thus bought
for a lady in a far-off place, have not been paid for by
that lady till after the lapse of many months. For
such remissness there is no excuse. To go shopping
for a friend is rarely a pleasant business. Besides its
encroaching on yom time, there is always a danger of
74 miss Leslie's bbhavioub book.
the purchases proving unsatisfactory, or not suiting the
taste of her for whom they are intended. Also, circum-
stances may prevent the articles reaching her as soon
as expected. Whenever practicable, it is best to send
all such packages by the Transportation Line — that
charge to be paid by the owner, on delivery.
It is not well to trouble a gentleman with the care
of a parcel, unless it is quite small, and he has to pass
the door of the house at which it is to be delivered ; or
unless his residence is in the immediate neighbourhood.
When visiting the shops, if you do not intend to
buy at that time, but are merely looking round to see
varieties of articles before you determine on what to
purchase, candidly say so to the persons standing at
the counter. They will (particularly if they know
you) be perfectly willing to show you such things as
you desire to see, in thje hope that you may return to
their store and buy of them afterward. At the same
time, avoid giving unnecessary trouble; and do not,
from mere curiosity, desire such things to be brought
to you as you have no intention of buying at all.
The practice that is called cheapening, or beating
down the price, is now nearly obsolete. Most trades-
men have a fixed price for every thing, and will not
It is but rarely that you will meet with articles of
really good quality on very low terms, unless near the
close of the season, when the storekeepers, anxious to
get rid of their old stock, generally put down the
prices of the goods that arc left on hand; knowing
that by the return of next season, these will be super-
Reded by things of a newer fashion. Economical
ladies, who are not resolutely determined on wearing
none but articles of the very latest fashion, may thus
supply themselves with excellent silks, lawns, &c. in
August and September, at prices far below what they
would have given in May or June. And then they
can lay them by till next summer. Li the same way
they can purchase merinoes, mousselines de laine, &c.
in January, February, and March, much lower than in
November and December. It is best always to buy
rather too much than too little ; and to have a piece
left, rather than to get a scanty pattern, such as will
barely hold out, leaving nothing for repairs or altera-
tions. There is much advantage in getting an extra
yard and a half, or two yards, and keeping it back for
new sleeves. Unless you are small and slender, it is
not well to buy a dress embroidered with a border
pattern. They are always scanty in width, and have
that look when made up. The skirts are never quite
wide enough. A tall woman requires as full a skirt
as a fat one ; else her height will make her look lanky
When bespeaking an article to be made purposely
for you, ascertain from the maker what will be the
cost, and then request him to write down the terms on
a card, or a slip of paper, or on a leaf of your tablet.
If he says he cannot tell how much it will be, or that
he knows not what price to fix on it, or that he cannot
decide till after it is finished, it will be safest and
wisest for you to decline engaging it, till he has calcu-
lated the amount, or something very near it. Persist
lb MISS LESLIES BEHAVIOUR LOOK.
in this condition being a sine qua non. It is his
place to know every thing connected with his busi
and to be able to judge of his outlay, and his profits.
If you do not insist on a satisfactory answer when
making the bargain, you may in the end find yourself
greatly overcharged, (as we know by experience;) the
price in the bill, after the article is made, and sent
home, proving infinitely higher than you would have
been willing to give if previously aware of it. In
dealing with foreigners whose language is not yours,
take especial care that there is a correct understand-
ing on both sides.
When on a visit to a city with which you are not
familiar, enquire where the best shops are to be found,
and make memorandums of them in your tablets.
This will spare your friends the trouble of accompany-
ing you on your shopping expeditions. And if you
have a small pocket-map of the town, there will be no
danger of losing your way. Except to ladies whose
chief delight is in seeing things connected with dress,
to go shopping with a stranger is usually very tire-
some. Also, the stranger will feel less constraint by
going alone; and more at liberty to be guided by her
own taste in selecting, and to consult her pecuniary
convenience in regard to the price. It is only when
you feel that you have reason for distrusting your own
judgment, as to the quality and gentility of the arti-
cles, that it is well to be accompanied by a person of
more experience. And then you will, most probably,
be unwilling to fatigue her by going to as many shops
as you would like to visit. In most cases, it is best
shoppie ;;, 77
to go shopping without any companion, except, per-
haps, a member of your immediate family. Gentle-
men consider it a very irksome task to go on shopping
expeditions, and their ill-concealed impatience becomes
equally irksome to you.
If you have given the salesman or saleswoman
unusual trouble in showing you articles which you
find not to suit, make some compensation, by at least
one or two small purchases before leaving the store ;
for instance, linen to lay by as a body-lining for a
future dress, gloves, mits, a neck-ribbon, cotton spools,
pins, needles, tape, black sewing-silk, &c, — things
that will always come into use.
Remember that in all American stores, the rule of
"first come, first served," is rigidly observed. There-
fore, testify no impatience if a servant-girl, making a
sixpenny purchase, is served before you — which she
certainly w T ill be, if her entrance has preceded yours.
There are still some ladies who think that one of
the great arts of shopping, is to disparage the articles
shown to them, to exclaim at the price, and to assert
that at other places they can get exactly such things
infinitely lower. When shopping, (as well as under
all other circumstances,) it is best to adhere to the
truth. ' If you really like the article, why not gratify
the salesman by saying so. If you know that the
price is in conformity to the usual rate, you need not
attempt to get it lower, for you will seldom succeed —
unless, indeed, on that day the tradesman is particu-
larly anxious to sell, having a sum of money to make
up, and being somewhat at a loss. Perhaps then, he
7cS MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR LOOK.
may abate something; but if he docs not himself
propose the abatement, and if he is largely in business,
and sure of plenty of custom, there will be little use
in your urging it.
If you are a stranger in the city, (Philadelphia for
instance,) do not always be exclaiming at the prices,
and declaring that you can buy the same articles
much lower and much handsomer in New York,
Boston, or Baltimore. For certain reasons, prices
are different in different places. If an article is
shown to you in Philadelphia as "something quite
new," refrain from saying that it has been out of
fashion these two years in New York. This may
injure its sale with bystanders, chancing to hear you.
You need only say "that it is very pretty, but you do
not want it now."
It is strange, but no less strange than true, that
though the distance between New York and Phila-
delphia is reduced to less than half a day's travel, it
ta,kes a year or more, for the New York fashions to
get to Philadelphia, and many of them never arrive
at all. There are certain dress-makers and milliners
in the latter city, who, if you show them any thing
quite fresh from New York, will habitually reply,
" Oh ! we made that, here in Philadelphia, a year or
two ago." You need not believe them. Our Ameri-
can ladies derive all their ideas of costume from
Prance; and as New York rejoices in the
extensive and the most speedy intercourse with that
land of taste and elegance, the French fashions alwaj a
get there first. The wonder is that so long a time
elapses before they prevail in the other cities. We
must say, however, that whatever is fantastic and
extreme, is generally modified and softened down in
Philadelphia. In provincial towns, and in remote
new settlements, we often see a disposition to carry to
the utmost a fashion already too showy or gaudy.
When you see on another lady a new article of
dress that you admire, it is not ill-manners, (but
rather the contrary,) to tell her so. But unless you
really desire to get one exactly like it for yourself,
and are sincerely asking for information, it is con-
sidered very rude to enquire where she bought it, and
what was the cost. And it is peculiarly vulgar to
preface the enquiry by the foolish words — "If it is a
fair question." The very doubt proves that you know
the question to be a very unfair one. And so it is.
We have never known that expression used except to
introduce something rude and improper. Any lady
who is asked an impertinent question, would be
perfectly justifiable in saying, "Excuse me from
answering" — and then immediately changing the con-
versation. Yet there are ladies who are always cate-
chising others about their dress. You are not bound
to give explicit answers to these, or any other ques-
tions concerning your personal affairs. Much mis-
chief accrues in society, from some ladies being too
inquisitive, and others too communicative.
It is really a great fatigue, both of body and mind,
to go shopping with a very close economist, particu-
larly if you know that she can well afford a sufficiently
liberal expenditure. The length of time she wi^
80 MIS IEHAVIOUB BOOK.
ponder over every thing before she can "make up her
mind;" the ever-besetting fear that she may possibly
have to give a few cents more in one store than in
another ; her long deliberation as to whether a smaller
than the usual quantity may not be "made to do;" her
predilection for bargain-seeking in streets far off, and
ungenteel; the immense trouble she gives to the
persons behind the counter, — all will induce you to
forswear trying a second time the experiment of
attending on the progress of a shopper who sets out
with the vain expectation of obtaining good articles at
In what are called "cheap shops," you will rarely
find more than two or three things that are really
cheap. If of bad quality, they are not cheap, but
dear. Low-priced ribbons, for instance, are generally
flimsy, tawdry, of ugly figures, and vulgar colours, — ■
soon fading, and soon "getting into a string." Yet
there are ladies who will walk two miles to hustle in
the crowd they find squeezing toward the counter of
the last new emporium of cheap ribbons ; and, while
waiting their turn, have nothing to look at around
them but lots of trash, that if they bought they would
be ashamed to wear. Coarse finery is trumpery.
On the other hand, for ladies of small means, it is
not indispensable to their standing in society, that
they should deal only at stores noted for selling higher
than the usual price. It is a very poor boast ; particu-
larly when they cannot afford it.
Whatever may be the caprices* of fashion, a lady of
good taste (and we may add, good sense,) will not, in
buying dresses, select those of large figures, and high
glaring colours. There is something peculiarly un-
uenteel and ungraceful in a white ground with large
red flowers and green leaves wandering over it. Even
if the fabric is brocade, it has a look of calico. Red
and green is only beautiful in real flowers. In a lady's
dress, it somehow looks unlady-like. A great variety
of bright colours is only suited to a carpet. For a
dress, two are quite sufficient. And then if one is
blue, pink, scarlet, or orange, let it be contrasted
with brown, gray, olive, or some chaste and quiet tint
that will set it off. Few silks are more becoming
than those in which the figure is formed by a darker
shade of the same colour as the ground. Silks of one
colour only, trim the best — variegated trimming looks
confused and ineffective. No colours are more ungen-
teel, or in worse taste, than reddish lilacs, reddish
purples, and reddish browns. The original tint of
aronetta, or anatto, is the contempt of ladies ; but b v
previously washing the article in strong, warm pot-ash
water, before it is put into the solution of aronetta,
you will obtain a beautiful bird-of-paradise colour,
entirely free from all appearance of the unpopular
Buy * no silk that is stiff and hard, however thick
and heavy it may seem. It will crack and split, and
wear worse than a soft silk that appears much thinner.
Venture on no satin that is not of excellent quality
A thin satin frays and ravels, and is not worth making
up. For common wear, a soft, thick India silk is
generally excellent. We have never seen a goo J ***
82 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR LOOK.
for less than a dollar a yard. The figured ur em-
bossed India silks are not worth buying, — wearing
rough and fuzzy, and fraying all over. For a service-
able, long-lasting home dress, there is nothing equal
to a very thick, soft, double-width India black satin,
such as is called two yards wide, and sells at two
dollars a yard. But they have become very scarce.
Never use satin to cover cord. It ravels too much.
Velvet and satin should be corded with substantial
silk. If you cannot match the exact shade, let it be
darker rather than lighter. A belt-ribbon should
always be darker than the dress. Cord merino with
itself. A cording of silk will not wash.
If you cannot get lace that is tolerably fine, wear
none at all, rather than have it coarse. We have
seen lace called Brussels, so coarse that it looked as
if made of cotton, though in truth it was of thread.
There was no real beauty in it. Genuine Brussels
lace is exquisitely fine.
Large showy ornaments, by way of jewellery, are
exceedingly ungenteel. They always tell their own
story, of glass stones set in gilding, not gold. If you
cannot obtain real jewels, never attempt sham ones.
It requires no practised eye to detect them — particu-
larly false diamonds.
Do not interfere with the shopping of other custom-
ers, (who may chance to stand near you at the counter,)
by either praising or deprecating any of the articles
they are looking at. Leave them to the exercise of
their own judgment; unless they ask your opinion.
And then give it in a low voice, and sincerely.
.If you meet an acquaintance unexpectedly m a
Etore, it is not well to engage in a long conversation
with her, and thus detain persons behind the counter
from waiting on other customers. Finish your pur-
chase-making first, and then you will have leisure to
step aside and converse. A store is not the, rlace for
social intercourse, and you may chance to say some-
thing there, that bystanders should not hear. " Greet-
ings in the market-place" should always be short.
It is not admissible to try on kid gloves in a store.
After buying a pair, ask for the glove-stretcher, (which
they keep in all good shops, for the convenience of
customers,) and then stretch the gloves upon it, unless
you have a glove-stretcher at home. This will render
them easy to put on when you take them into wear.
Glove-stretchers are to be bought at the variety
stores ; or ought to be. They will save many a new
glove from tearing.
In buying stockings, whether silk or cotton, you
will find it cheapest in the end, to get those of the
best English manufacture, particularly those of fine
quality. For winter, and to wear with boots, English
stockings of unbleached cotton are very comfortable,
feeling warmer than those that are perfectly white.
It is to be lamented that all black stockings (even of
silk) are painful and injurious to the feet, the copperas
dye being poisonous.
In buying black mits, see that they are really of
silk, otherwise they will stain your hands, and look
brown and foxy. Much cotton is now substituted for
silk; a way having been discovered of carding silk
itim cotton together, before the thread la spun, i
nlso, is shamefully adulterated with cotton, and it.ia
iifficult for purchasers to discover the cheat before
the article is washed. Linen is frequently injured in
che piece by bad bleaching-salts ; so that after the
first washing, it drops into holes, such as are caused
by vitriol. Of this we have had sad experience in
several instances, when the linen was supposed to be
of the best quality.
Always object to a parcel being put up in newspa-
per — as the printing-ink will rub off, and soil the
article inclosed. If it is a little thing that you are
going to take home in your own hand, it will smear
your gloves. All shopkeepers in good business can
afford to buy proper wrapping-paper, and they gene-
rally do so. It is very cheap. See also that they do
not wrap your purchase in so small a bit of paper as
to squeeze and crush it.
If you go out with much money, (which is never
advisable,) divide it into two portions, putting part in
your pocket-book or porte-monnaie, and the remainder
into your purse, so that if you lose it, or have your
pocket picked, the loss may be less. Do not carry
notes in your purse, but keep them in your pocket-
book. Little gold dollars had best go into your porte-
monnaie. If kept in your purse with small change,
you will be very likely to lose them, or to mistake
them for three-cent pieces if the light is bad.
Once, on embarking in a New York steamboat, wo
saw a gentleman having bought a penny paper, give
the news-boy a gold eagle in mistake for a cent. The
gentleman was instantly apprized of his error by ^
bystander, who had seen it; but the boy had air
sprung upon the wharf and was lost in the crowd.
"We knew an instance of a lady in New York giving
a hundred-dollar note to a strawberry woman, rnstead
of a note of one dollar. Neither note nor woman
were seen or heard of more.
In getting change see that three-cent pieces are not
given to you for five cents.
And now a few words to saleswomen. They have
always, when commencing that vocation, two important
qualities to cultivate (exclusive of cleverness in busi-
ness) — civility, and patience. In these two requisites,
few of our American young women are deficient. Let
them also learn activity in moving, and quickness in
recollecting where all the articles called for are to be
found, so as not to keep the customers waiting too
long, while they, the sellers, are searching the shelves
and boxes. Also, if a lady wishes to match some-
thing, (for instance, a piece of silk,) it is foolish and
useless to bring her a piece that is not exactly like :
trying to persuade her to take it, and calling it " as
good a match as she is likely to get." Of course she
will not take a piece that is only tolerably like, but
not quite the same ; for unless it matches exactly, it
is no match at all. If a customer enquires for light
blue ribbon it is absurd to bring her dark blue, saying
"we have no light blue" — or to say "we have no
pink, but we have scarlet — we have no lilac, but we
have purple." Or still worse, to try to persuade the
customer that deep crimson is a beautiful shade of
MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK
scarlet; or worse than all, tint those very unbecoming
tints, called improperly rose-white and pearl-white,
really a pure dead -white; when you know very well
that they are no such thing. Both white and black
are very difficult to match precisely.
Let the yard-measure be visible to the customers.
In some shops the measure is at the back of the
counter, hidden behind a glass case. This practice
of measuring out of sight, sometimes gives rise to a
suspicion that the measure is not true, as it is so easy
to deceive where the brass nails that mark it are con
coaled from view of the customers.
Every female who keeps, or attends in a store,
should discourage the visits of her friends at business-
hours. If she looks off to chat with her shop-visiters,
she cannot attend properly to her customers; and
those visiters may be inconsiderate and obtrusive
enough to interfere, by putting in their word, and
praising the beauty or cheapness of the articles, by
way of promoting the interest of the seller, which it
ultimately will not.
Show as much civility and attention to a customer
plainly dressed, and walking on foot, or getting out
of an omnibus, as you would to a lady elegantly
attired, and coming in her own carriage. The former
may prove the most profitable customer. Be careful
to exhibit no temper, even if you have had the trouble
of showing a variety of goods to one who goes away
without buying any thing. Another time, perhaps,
she may come and make large purchases : but if you
offend her, she will assuredly never enter the storo
PLACES OF AMUSEMENT. b7
again. Recollect that no one feels under the least
compulsion to buy What does not suit them. You
would not yourself. Habitual courtesy is a valuable
qualification, and always turns to good account.
PLACES OF AMUSEMENT.
It would be well in all places of public amusement,
if there could be an apartment appropriated to the
ladies, in which they might deposit their cloaks, hoods,
&c. in charge of a responsible attendant ; her care to
be rewarded by a small gratuity. Ladies would then
be under no necessity of carrying warm outer-gar-
ments into a crowded and heated room; or of wearing
their bonnets, and thereby intercepting the view of
persons seated behind them; always a grievance
where the benches are not sufficiently elevated, or
where there is no difference at all in their respective
elevation, as is sometimes the case. Also, the appear-
ance of the female part of the company is always
more elegant, when wearing bandeaus, caps, or other
light head-dresses ; young persons requiring their hair
only, or the slight decoration of a flower or a ribbon.
It is very painful and fatiguing to be for several hours
continually dodging your head from side to side, and
stretching your neck this way and that, and peeping
wherever you can obtain a tantalizing glimpse between
88 MKS8 Leslie's BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
tho bonnets of ladies seated immediately before you.
This, in addition to the annoyance of being squeezed
on a bench that is over-full, is enough to destroy
nearly all the pleasure of the exhibition ; and to make
a large portion of the audience regret that they came.
If you wish to secure a good seat, go early. It is
better to sit there an hour before the commencement
of the performance, than t© arrive after it has begun.
The time of waiting will soon pass away, in conversa-
tion with the friends whom you have accompanied.
When invited to join a party to a place of amuse-
ment, begin to prepare in ample time; so as not to
keep them waiting for you. "When a large party is
going to a place of amusement, (for instance, the
theatre, or opera,) it is better that each family should
go thither from their own home, (being provided with
their own tickets,) than that they should all rendezvous
at the house of one of the company; at the risk of
keeping the whole party waiting, perhaps for the very
youngest members of it. When a box has been taken,
let the tickets be sent to all the persons who are to
have seats in it, and not retained by the taker of the
box till the whole party has assembled at the door of
the theatre. If the tickets are thus distributed, the
persons from each house can go when they please,
without compelling any of the party to wait for them.
Still, to make an entrance after the performance
has begun, is (or ought to be) very embarrassing to
ladies. It excites the attention of all around, divert-
ing that attention from the performance; and there is
always, when the house is full, and the hour lute, seme
PLACES OF AMUSEMENT. 80
delay and difficulty in reaching the scats, even when
the seats have been secured.
If it is a concert, where places cannot be previously
engaged, there are, of course, additional reasons for
going in due time; and the most sensible and best-
behaved part of the audience always endeavour to do
sa But if you are unavoidably late, be satisfied to
pay the penalty, by quietly taking back-seats, if no
others are vacant. We have seen young ladies not
arriving till after the entertainment had commenced,
march boldly up to the front benches, and stand there
looking steadfastly in the faces of gentlemen who with
their parties had earned good seats by coming soon
after the doors were opened. The ladies persever-
ing in this determined stare, till they succeeded in
dislodging these unfortunate gentlemen, and com-
pelling them to quit their seats, to leave the ladies
who belonged to them, and to stand for the remainder
of the evening, perhaps in a distant part of the room
American men are noted, everywhere, for their polite-
ness to females. We wish we could say the same of
the politeness of our fair countrywomen in return.
Yet frequently they will avail themselves of these
civilities from strangers, without rewarding them with
a word of thanks, or even a bow of acknowledgment.
English tourists remark (and with truth) that there
is no position in which American ladies appear to such
disadvantage as when crowding the galleries of our
legislative assemblies; ejecting gentlemen to whom it
is of importance to hear the debates ; and still worse,
intruding upon the floor of the senate-chamber, and
90 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
compelling the senators to relinquish their place.-, and
find others where they can, or else to stand all the
time. And among these ladies, there may he very
few who are really capable of enjoying or appreciating
the eloquence of our distinguished orators, or of enter-
ing understanding^ into the merits of the question.
Often these damsels are whispering half the time
ahout some nonsense of their own; and often, as is
surmised, the chief object of the ladies whose visits to
the capitol are most frequent, is the chance of a few
words of flirtation with some of the most gallant
among the members; or the possibility of being
escorted home by a congressman, who has but little
to do, or at least who does but little. We think the
English parliament is right in excluding ladies from
their halls, except when the queen goes there in state,
to open or prorogue the session. Let them be satis-
fied with reading the debates in the newspapers
We acknowledge that it is very interesting to see
and hear the most eminent men of our country ar-
ranging the aifairs of the nation; to become acquainted
with their personal appearance, and to listen to their
eloquence. But the privilege should not be abused
as it is, by those who, after all, listen so badly, or
comprehend so badly, that if questioned an hour
afterward, they could scarcely repeat the purport of
one single sentence, — nor perhaps even recollect the
subject of debate. Such instances we have known —
and not a few of them cither.
To laugh deridingly, or to whisper unfavourable
remarks during the performance of a concert or a
PLACES OF AMUSEMENT. " fll
play, is a rudeness of which few American ladies are
guilty. Still, we occasionally see some of that few,
who, much to the annoyance of those persons near
them who really wish to enjoy what they came for,
talk audibly in ridicule of the performers; the per-
formers being, in all probability, near enough to hear
these vexatious remarks, and to be disconcerted by
them. We heard of a highly respectable actress who
was so mortified by the unfeeling animadversions of
some young ladies in a stage-box, that she forgot her
part, was unable to utter a word, or to restrain her
tears, and became so nervous that she played badly
during the remainder of the piece, and was in conse-
quence, severely handled next day by the newspaper
critics. This was very hard.
Parents before taking their children to the theatre,
should first ascertain whether the play is such as will
amuse or interest them. Small children are invariably
restless, troublesome, and finally sleepy at a perform-
ance that affords them no entertainment, and they will
be better at home. Yet we have seen little girls
brought to see the painful tragedy of the Gamester
— or still worse, the dreary comedy of the Stranger.
How is it that young ladies are frequently matronized
to plays that even their mothers cannot witness with-
out blushes ?
MISS LKSLLE S LUllAVlUUU BOOK.
No lady should set out on a journey unprovided
with an oiled-silk bag for the reception of tooth-
brushes, soap, a hair-brush, and a towel. Let the bag
be about half a quarter of a yard longer at the back
than at the front; so as to leave a flap to turn over,
and tie down, when all the articles are in. It should
be square, (exclusive of the flap,) and about a quarter
and half-quarter in length, and the same in breadth;
stitched in compartments, something like an old-
fashioned thread-case, only that the compartments
differ much in size. The two smallest are for two
tooth-brushes. Another should be broad enough to
contain a hair-brush. For travelling, have a hair-brush
with a mirror at the back, and if you can get one that
has also a dressing-comb attached to it, so much the
better. The largest compartment (which should oc-
cupy the centre) is for a towel, and a cake of soap. If
you are obliged to start in haste, all these things can
be put in while wet from recent use, the towel being
rolled or folded into as small a compass as possible.
The oiled silk will prevent the wet from oozing
through. When all are in, turn over the flap at tho
top, (which should be furnished with two lung strings
of broad, white tape,) and tie it securely down.
Carry this bag, in the square satchel which all ladies
now keep in their hands when travelling, and which
contain such things as they may want during the day,
precluding the necessity of opening their large carpet-
bag, till they stop for the night.
In a carpet-bag pack nothing but white articles, or
such as can be washed, and will not be spoiled by the
bag chancing to get wet. Have your name engraved
on the lock of your carpet-bag, and also on the brass
plate of ■ your trunks. Besides this, write your full
direction on several cards, make a small hole in each,
and running a string through the hole, tie a card to
the handle of each trunk, and sew one on the side of
your carpet-bag — the direction designating the place
to which you are going. Your name in full should be
painted in white letters on every trunk. This costs
but a trifle, and secures the recognition of your bag-
gage when missing. It is also an excellent plan to
tie round the handle of each trunk or bag, a bit of
ribbon — blue, red, or yelbw — all the bits being off
the same piece.*
Write on a large card, a list and description of each
trunk, box, &c. and give the card to the gentleman
who escorts you. It will greatly assist him in identi-
fying all the articles that comprise your baggage.
Be quite ready at least a quarter of an hour before
the time for starting. Nelson said he traced all the
* In a former work of the author's, The House Book, published
by A. Hart, Philadelphia, will he found ample directions for pack-
ju£ trunks, .ice.
94 Miss Leslie's BEHAVIOUR look.
most fortunate events of his life to his practice of
being, on every occasion, quite prepared a quarter of
an hour too early. It is a good rule.
Previous to departing, put into the hand of your
escort- rather more than a sufficient sum fur the
expenses of your journey, so as to provide for all
possible contingencies. He will return you the ba-
lance when all is paid. Having done this, should any
person belonging to the line come to you for your
fare, refer them to the gentleman, (mentioning his
name,) and take care to pay nothing more yourself.
Dress very plainly when travelling. Few ladies
that are ladies wear finery in rail-cars, and steam-
boats — still les 01 ..ages — stage-roads being usually
very dusty. jwy silks, and what are called dress-
bonnets a A reposterous — so are jewellery ornaments,
which, if real, you ru* great risk of losing, and if
false, are very un r A. Above all, do not travel
in white kid gloves. Respectable women never do.
The best travelling-dresses are of merino, or alpaca ;
plain mousseline de laine, grey or brown linen; or
strong India silk, senshaw for instance. In warm
weather, gingham is better than printed lawn, which
rumples and tumbles and "gets into a string" directly.
The sleeves wide, for if tight to the arm, they will
stain with perspiration. Your travelling-dress for
summer should have a large cape or pelerine of the
same. Beside which, carry on your arm a large
shawl for chilly mornings and evenings. No lady
should travel in cold weather, without a warm cloak,
mantilla, or pelisse, — furs, &c. of course — and travel-
ling-boots lined with fur or flannel; having also inner
soles of lambs-wool, varnished on the leather side to
make them water-proof. ' Take with you one of those
very useful umbrellas, that arc large enough to shelter
one person from the rain, and can also be used as a
parasol. Do not pack it away in a trunk, for you may
want it in the transit from rail-car to steamboat.
Keep it near you all the time, with your satchel and
extra shawl. By all means wear a white collar.
If you are fortunately able to ride backward as well
as forward, you will be less incommoded with flying
sparks, by sitting with your back to the engine. A
spark getting into the eye is very painful, and some-
times dangerous. It is possible to expe.l it by blowing
your nose very hard, while with the other hand you
w r ipe out the particle of cinder with a corner of your
handkerchief, pulling down the lower eye-lid. We
have seen this done successfully. Another way is to
wrap the head of a pin in the corner of a fine, soft
cambric handkerchief, and placing it beneath the lid,
sweep all round the eye with it. If this does not
succeed, get out at the first station-house where you
can stop long enough, procure a bristle-hair from a
sweeping-brush, tie it in a loop or bow with a bit of
thread, and let some one insert it beneath your eye-
lid, and move it slowly all round, so as to catch in it
the offending particle of coal, and bring it out. Or if
there is time, send to the nearest apothecary for an
eye-stone, (in reality, a lobster's eye,) and soak it five
minutes in a saucer of vinegar and water to give it
activity, then, wiping it dry, and carefully inserting
it beneath tl^ eye-li<}, bind a handkerchief
The cyc-stonc will go circling round the eye, and
most likely take up the mote in its course. When
the pain ceases, remove the handkerchief, and wash
the eye with cold water.
To read in a rail-car is very injurious to the eyes,
from the quivering, tremulous motion it seems to com-
municate to the letters of the page. It is best to ab-
stain from your book till you are transferred to the
Many persons cannot talk in a rail-car without a
painful exertion of the voice. And it is not an easy
task, even to those whose lungs are strong. You can
easily excuse yourself from conversing with your escort,
by telling him that your voice is not loud enough to
be heard above the racket of the cars, and that though
you will gladly listen to Mm, he must allow you to
listen without replying, except in. as few words as
possib]^ If he finds a gentleman with whom he is
acquainted, desire him to talk to his friend, and leave
you to hear their conversation as a silent auditor.
If you pass the night in a steamboat, and can afford
the additional expense of a whole state-room, by all
means engage one as soon as you go on board. The
chambermaid will give you the key and the number,
and you can retire to it whenever you please, and
enjoy the luxury of being alone, and of washing and
dressing without witnesses. If you are constrained to
take a berth in the ladies' sleeping-cabin, it is not the
least necessary to retire to it immediately after supper.
By doing so you will have a very long, tiresome night,
and be awake many hours before morning. Ad
you are awake, do not be continually calling upon the
poor chambermaid, and disturbing her with inquiries,
such as "Where are we now?" and "How soon shall we
The saloon is the place in which ladies and gentle-
men sit together. If a lady is so inconsiderate or
selfish as to violate the rules of the boat, by inviting
her husband or lover to take a seat in the ladies' cabin,
there is no impropriety in sending the chambermaid
to remind him that he must leave the room. This is
often done, and always should be. We once saw a
gentleman (or a pretended one) so pertinacious in
remaining, (it is true his lady-love urged him "not to
mind,") that the captain had to be brought to threaten
him with forcible expulsion. This had the desired
, Such are the facilities of travelling, that a lady
evidently respectable, plainly dressed, and braving
properly, may travel very well without a gefl^man.
Two ladies still better. On commencing the journey
she should speak to the conductor, requesting him to
attend to her and her baggage, and to introduce her
to the captain of the boat, who will of course take
charge of her during the voyage.
Before arriving at the wharf, she had best engage
one of the servants of the boat, (promising him a
shilling or two,) to obtain for her a porter or a hack,
and to see that her baggage is safe. She must stipu-
late with the hackman that no stranger is to be put
into the carriage with her. This is against the law,
1)8 EHAVI0UR BOOK
but notwithstanding, is often done, and the ladj
has first engaged the coach, is liable to have i'or her
riding-companions persons of improper character and
vulgar appearance, and to be carried with them to
their places in remote parts of the city, before she is
conveyed to her own home. Previous to getting in,
take the number of the coach, by writing it on a card
with your pencil, and make your bargain with him as
to the charge for conveying you and your baggage.
It would be well if the imposition and insolence of
hack-drivers were alivays followed with the punish-
ments provided by law. Ladies are naturally un-
willing to appear at a magistrate's office. But it is
the duty of every gentleman, as a good citizen, to see
that the municipal regulations are never violated with
All trouble may be avoided on arriving, by sending
for the captain of the boat, and requesting him to see
you on shore, or to depute his clerk to that office.
In^fciving at a rail-road depot, be careful not to
quit the cars till after they have positively stopped
quite still. The time gained is but an instant, and
the risk is very imminent of serious injury by falling,
should your ankle twist in stepping out while there is
the least motion.
On arriving at a hotel, ask immediately to see the
proprietor ; give him your name and address, tell how
long you purpose staying, and request him to see that
you are provided with a good room. Request him
also to conduct you to the dining-room at dinner-time,
and allot you a seat near his own. For this purpose,
he will wait for you near the door, ^do not keep him
waiting,) or meet you in the ladies' drawing-room.
While at table, if the proprietor or any other gentle-
man asks you to take wine with him, politely refuse.
If, on arriving at the wharf, you expect a gentle-
man to meet you, take a seat either on deck near the
cabin-door, or just inside of the door, so that he may
find you easily.
If you are to pursue your journey early in the
morning, desire, over-night, the waiter who attends
your room, to knock hard at your door an hour before
the time of starting. Before you go down-stairs, ask
for the chambermaid who has attended you, and give
her a fee, (not less than a quarter-dollar,) putting it
into her own hand yourself, and not commissioning
another to convey it to her. Do not omit giving a
quarter-dollar at least, to the waiter who attended
your room, and one also to him who has served you
at table. A
Refrain from making acquaintance with any v stran-
gers, unless you are certain of their respectability.
Tf a gentleman of whom you know nothing, endeavours
to get into conversation with you, turn away, and
make no reply. Avoid saying any thing to women in
showy attire, with painted faces, and white kid gloves.
Such persons have frequently the assurance to try to
be very sociable with respectable ladies who are travel-
ling alone. Keep aloof from them always.
If you have breakfasted early, it will be well to put
some gingerbread-nuts or biscuits into your satchel,
as you mav become very hungry before dinner.
100 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
Cairy but little money in your pocket — not more
than will suffice for the expenses of the day. But for
travelling, have another pocket, concealed beneath
your upper petticoat, and in that keep the main por-
tion of your cash. Be cautious of taking bank-notes
in change — they may be such as you cannot pass. If
they are offered to you, refuse them, and insist upon
gold or silver.
Travelling in America, ladies frequently meet with
little civilities from gentlemen, so delicately offered,
^hat to refuse them would be rude. These incidental
acts of politeness should always be acknowledged with
thanks ; but they should not be construed into a desire
of commencing an acquaintance. If a lady obliged
to travel alone, wishes to be treated with respect, her
own deportment must in all things be quiet, modest
If you have a servant with you, see that she gets
her meals, and has a comfortable sleeping-place, or in
all probability she will be neglected and overlooked.
In a steamboat or a hotel, speak yourself to the head-
waiter, and desire him to take her to the servants'
table and attend to her ; and tell the chambermaid to
see her provided with a bed. If their lady forgets to
look out for them, coloured women in particular have
often no courage to look out for themselves.
DEPORTMENT AT A HOTEL. 101
w that there is so much travelling in the summer,
ndeed at all seasons,) and so much living in pub-
lic, to save the trouble and the expense of keeping
house in private, it may be well to offer some hints on
the propriety of manners that ought to be observed in
places where you are always exposed to the inspection
and to the remarks of strangers. These strangers,
knowing you but slightly, or not at all, will naturally
draw their inferences for or against you from what
they see before their eyes ; concluding that you are
genteel or ungenteel, patrician or plebeian, according
to the coarseness or the polish of your manners.
Yet strange to say, there are persons who indulge
themselves in astounding acts of rudeness, from the
supposition that a hotel is only a tavern, a sort of
Liberty Hall, where every one has a right to "take
their ease in their inn," if they pay for it. Have they
no respect for themselves ?
It is usual for members of the same party to meet
in the ladies' drawing-room before they go in to break-
fast, unless the party is large ; and then it is not ex-
pected that half a dozen persons should be kept wait-
ing for one or two late risers, or tardy dressers. When
102 miss Leslie's behaviour took.
two or three of the party find them :uh
parlour, it will he best for them to proceed
eating-room, and leave the others to follow i
convenience, hy twos or hy threes, — always
that a young lady, if a stranger, is not left t(
alone. Strangers at hotels can have no pa
seats at breakfast and tea, as at these two ]
they always come to table by instalments, anc
regular time. If a large party enters all a
and they are determined to sit all together, they m;:y
occasion much inconvenience to persons already sealed,
or to the regular boarders, who have their allotted
seats. Neither is there any necessity or advantage
in six, eight, or ten people, who travel as one party,
resolving to establish themselves at a hotel-table all
side by side, in a row; particularly when it causes
inconvenience to others. Certainly not more than
three or four persons ranged in a line can join in the
same conversation, or attend to the wants of their
friends. Why then should they make any extraordi-
nary point of occupying chairs next to each other. It
■would be better to divide their forces; and if they
can, for half to sit on one side of the table, and the
other half directly opposite. Or they will find that if
the table is full, and they have to disperse still more
widely, they had best do so with a good grace, rather
than make any disturbance on the subject. "When
they quit the table to return to the drawing-room
they may be very sure of all meeting again near the
Nine o'clock (or half-past) is the latest hour that
DEPORTMENT AT A HOTEL. 103
any guest at a hotel should come to breakfast; and
few Americans have so little consideration as to detain
the table and the servants till ten or eleven.* At a
boarding-house, the guests are very soon made to un-
derstand that if they are late risers, they need expect
nothing but the cold leavings of the breakfast. At a
hotel they find more indulgence. You there choose
from the bill of fare such dishes as you may prefer,
and they will be brought to you, after you have been
supplied with tea or coffee, and bread and butter to
begin with. To each person is allowed a separate
dish or plate of the articles selected ; and it is under-
stood to be for yourself alone, and that no other person
has a right to partake of it, or to meddle with it in
any way. Yet even from your own dish, never help
yourself with the knife and fork or spoon you are
eating with; but always use a spare one, with which
the' waiter will furnish you. Do not eat different sorts
of relishes off the same plate. At a hotel there is no
scarcity of plates, or of servants to change them.
Always take butter with the butter-knife, and then do
not forget to return that knife to the butter-plate.
Carefully avoid cutting bread with your own knife, or
taking salt with it from the salt-cellar. It looks as if
you had not been accustomed to butter-knives and
Ladies no longer eat salt-fish at a publi' \ -table.
* Nevertheless, it is not good manners to make any remark
(even to a friend) on their coming to breakfast late or early. It
is no concern of yours, and they have reasons of their own, un-
104 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
The odour of it is now considered extremely ungen-
teel, and it is always very disagreeable to those who
do not eat it. If you breakfast alone, you can then
indulge in it.
Speak to the waiter in a distinct, but not in too
loud a voice, and always civilly. Thank him for any
little extra attention he may show you. If you do
not like what he has brought you, or find that you
cannot eat it, make youn^objection in a low voice, so
as not to be heard by theJieighbouring guests; and
quietly desire him to bring you something else.
It is usual at a hotel-table for each waiter to have
charge of three or four persons, and to attend to their
wants exclusively. If you are a stranger, ask the
waiter his name when he first comes to you; and
unless he is not at hand, and you see another standing
idle, do not call on any one else to attend you.
If the servants are coloured men, refrain from all
conversation in their presence that may grate harshly
on their feelings, by reminding them of their unfortu*
nate African blood. Do not talk of them as "ne-
groes,"* or "darkies." Avoid all discussions of
abolition, (either for or against,) when coloured people
are by. Also, quote none of their laughable sayings
while they are present.
WL m the domestics are Irish, and you have occa-
sion to reprove them for their negligence, forgetful-
ness, or blunders, do so without any reference to their
* Americans never really say niggers, though constantly accused
of doing so by their British cousins. The word negor we have
heard, but nigger never.
DEPORTMENT AT A
HOTEL. f 10(
country. If you find one who is disrespectful or inso-
lent, or who persists in asserting a falsehood, it is
safest to make no reply yourself, but to have the
matter represented to the proprietor of the house;
desiring that another waiter may be allotted to you.
It is ungenteel to go to the breakfast-table in any
costume approaching to full dress. There must be no
flowers or ribbons in the hair. A morning-cap should
be as simple as possible. The most genteel morning-
dress is a close gown of some plain material, with
long sleeves, which in summer may be white muslin.
A merino or cashmere wrapper, (grey, brown, purple,
or olive,) faced or trimmed with other merino of an
entirely different colour, such as crimson, scarlet,
green, or blue, is a becoming morning dress for winter.
In summer, a white cambric-muslin morning-robe is
the handsomest breakfast attire, but one of gingham
or printed muslin the most convenient. The coloured
dress may be made open in front, with short loose
sleeves and a pointed body. Beneath it a white
under-dress, having a chemisette front down to the
belt, and long white sleeves down to the wrist.
This forms a very graceful morning costume, the
white skirt appearing where the -coloured skirt opens.
The fashion of wearing black silk mittens at break-
fast is now obsolete. It was always inconvenient, and
neither useful nor ornamental.
After breakfast, it is customary for the ladies to
adjourn to the drawing-room, where they converse, or
read the papers, or redfeve early visiters, while the
chambermaids are putting the bed-chambers in order.
106 MISSS BKSJ,I];V BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
Some who are not accustomed to hotels, go immedi-
ately from the breakfast-table to their own apartment,
sitting there among the flue and dust during the
whole process of bed-making and room-sweeping;
afraid to trust the chambermaid alone, lest she should
steal something. This is absurd. They should know
that the chambermaids (being all considered honest
and responsible) are furnished wdth duplicate keys,
by which they can at any time unlock the chamber-
doors, and let themselves in, when the occupant is
absent. Also, this palpable suspicion of their honesty
is an insult to the girls, and is always felt as such. It
is sufficient to lock the bureau, the wardrobe, and your
trunks. When you go out, (that is, out of the house,)
then lock the door of your room, lest some one passing
by, should have curiosity to stroll in and look about,
and meddle w T ith what they see there. "**
Should you perceive that the dress of another lady
is, by some accident, out of order — for instance, that
a hook or a button has become unfastened; or that a
string is visibly hanging out; a collar unpinned, and
falling off; the corner of a shawl dragging along the
floor ; a skirt caught up ; or a sleeve slipping down,
immediately have the kindness to apprize her of it in
a low voice, and assist her in repairing the mischance ;
and, if necessary, leave the room with her for that
We have seen a lady who, finding that a cluster of
her false curls w T as coming down, had the courage to
say so to a gentleman with wliom she was conversing
at a party. And going openly, and at once, to the
DEPORTMENT AT A^ HOTEL. 107
nearest mirror, she calmly adjusted her borrowed
locks, and returned to her seat with a good grape.
Consequently, nobody laughed at the untoward acci-
dent; as might perhaps have been the case, had she
seemed excessively confused and nrrtified, and awk-
wardly tried to hold on her curls till she got out of
If you do not wish to be encumbered by carrying
the key in your pocket, let it be left during your ab-
sence, with the clerk in the office, or with the bar-
keeper; and send to him for it on your return.
Desire the servant who attends the door to show no
person up to your room during your absence. If
visiters wish to wait for your return, it is best they
should do so in the parlour.
In going in and out, be careful to shut the parlour-
doors after you, except in summer. Young ladies are
often very inconsiderate in this respect, and cause
much inconvenience, in cold weather, to those who do
not like to sit with a draught of keen air blowing upon
them. Even if you feel too warm yourself, it is rude
to throw open a door, (much more to raise a window-
sash,) without first enquiring if other ladies have no
Th*ere is no impropriety in a lady commencing con-
versation with a stranger of genteel appearance*. You
can easily take occasion to mention your own name,
and then, in return, she will communicate hers. But,
unless you are previously certain of her respectaL : lity,
have little to say to a woman who is travelling without
a companion, and whose face is painted, who wears a
108 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
profusion of long curls about her neck, who has a
meretricious expression of eye, and who is over-dressed
It is safest to avoid her. Also, you will derive no
pleasure or advantage from making acquaintance with
females who are evidently coarse and vulgar, even if
you know that they are rich, live in a large house,
and are of respectable character. Young girls who
are loud, noisy, bold, and forward, (however fashion-
able they may be,) it is best also to avoid. They will
not want your society, as they are generally all the
time surrounded by "beaux," or else rattling over the
keys of the piano.
In a public parlour, it is selfish and unmannerly to
Bit down to the instrument uninvited, and fall to play-
ing or practising, without seeming to consider the
probability of your interrupting or annoying the rest
of the company, particularly when you see them all
engaged in reading or in conversation. If you want
amusement, you had better read, or occupy yourself
with some light sewing or knitting-work.
If you have no book, you can ring the bell, and
send to the reading-room to borrow a file of newspa-
pers ; . but in most hotels, there are books belonging to
the establishment, lying on a table in the ladies'
parlour. Be sure not to carry any of these books up-
stairs, as they are intended solely for the drawing-
room ; and their removal from thence is interdicted.
Also, never carry away the Directory, the Atlas, the
City Guide, or any other book placed there for the
convenience of strangers.
If you want pen and ink, or any sort of stationery,
DEPORTMENT AT A HOTEL. 109
you can obtain it immediately, by ringing for a servant
to bring it you from the office. In ringing the bell,
one pull is sufficient; and always pull the cord down-
ward. If you jerk it out horizontally, and give
successively several hard pulls in that direction, the
cord is very likely to break, or the knob or tassel to
come off in your hand. At the chief hotel in one of
the New England cities, we saw a printed paper with
directions in large type, pasted beside every bell-pull
in the house; the directions specifying minutely the
proper mode of bell-ringing. Could it be that this
house was frequented by persons unaccustomed to
To return to the too-prevalent evil of uninvited and
ill-timed piano-playing, (much of which does not de-
serve the name of music,) we have always been at a
loss to understand how a young stranger, (modest and
unobtrusive in other things,) could walk up to the in-
strument, sometimes almost as soon as she arrives,
and rattle "fast and furious" over the keys, drowning
the voices of ladies and gentlemen who were talking,
and therefore compelling them to cease their conversa-
tion ; or if they pursued it, obliging them x ) raise
their tone painfully ; or to lose more than half, from
the impossibility of hearing each other distinctly. To
read when piano-playing is going on, is to most per-
sons impossible. There are few readers who cannot
so concentrate their attention on their book, as not to
be disturbed by any talking that may occur in their
vicinity ; and if talking does withdraw their attention
from the book, it is best that? they should read only
110 miss Leslie's behaviour look.
when alone in their apartment. But we have met
with no one who could read in the neighbourhood of a
If the music is really very good, and accompanied
by a fine voice, it is true that most readers will
willingly close the book to listen. But if the playing
is barely tolerable, or decidedly bad, and if the sing-
ing is weak and insipid, or harsh and screaming, or
timeless and tasteless, who can possibly wish to hear
it; except perhaps a doating father, or an injudicious
mother, vain of her daughter because she is hers, and
so anxious to show her off, that she encourages the
girl to display even her deficiencies.
We believe that our beloved America is not yet the
land of music; and that (with many exceptions) her
children are generally not furnished with much capa-
city for it. If there was a true feeling for music,
there would be more genius for that charming art, and
there would be more composers of original airs, the
number of which, in our country, is smaller than in
any civilized nation in the world. It is true we have
many excellent musicians, and many very good sing-
ers, but still, music is not the grand forte of Jonathan.
Pity it were, — for he has "a nobler and a manlier
Now as "there is a time for all things," we persist
in saying that the time and place for school-girls to
hear their own music, or to prove that it is not worth
hearing, is not in the drawing-room of a hotel, or in
the presence of a company that can have no desire to
hear them. What would be thought of a young lady,
DEPORTMENT AT A HOTEL, I'll
who in a public room, should suddenly come forward
and "speak a speech;" or suddenly rise up, and com-
mence, "loud and high," a reading of poetry, or recite
a French fable, or repeat the multiplication table, or
favour the company with a spontaneous pas seul.
And yet we do not perceive that any of these feats
would be a much greater evidence of deficiency in
diffidence, (to call it by no bolder name,) than the
practice of rattling, uninvited and unseasonably, over
the keys of a piano. A really good musician is rarely
obtrusive with her music, seldom playing unless she is
asked; and then, of course, complying at once.*
We repeat that no lady should play or sing in
company, unless she knows herself to be universally
considered a good singer or player, and capable of
something more than the mere series of lessons she
has learnt from her music teacher. Also, some punish-
ment should be devised for a young girl who cannot
play, yet has the folly and assurance to seat herself
at the piano of a public parlour, and annoy the com-
pany by an hour of tinking and tanking with one finger
only. Yet this we have seen ; and her mother present
all the time.
The gratuitous exhibition of bad music is said by
Europeans to be one of the peculiar characteristics of
* It is customary with professional or public musicians, when in
private company, to volunteer a song or a piece ; knowing that,
cut of\ delicacy, no one will ask them to give a gratuitous specimen
of the art by which they live. This is polite and proper. It ia
always duly appreciated, and adds to the popularity of the per*
112 miss Leslie's behaviour book
American young ladies. Let them then "reform it
Bring no large sewing into the ladies' drawing-
room, and nothing that will produce clippings or litter.
Whenever you have occasion to write more than a few
lines, do it in your own apartment. It is well to have
always there a small writing-case of your own, with
paper, pens, ink, wafers, sealing-wax, envelopes, post-
office stamps, &c. There are very neat little writing-
cases, (to be purchased at the best stationers,) that are
fitted with receptacles for all the above articles, ex-
cepting paper; the whole occupying no more space in
your travelling-satchel than a needle-book. The ink is
so secured, that there is no danger of its spilling.
You may even carry these writing-cases in your pocket
as conveniently as a card-case. As writing-paper
should not be folded or rolled in packing, lay it flat
in a small port-folio, and put it into your trunk. You
will find great convenience, when from home, to have
with you a little assortment of writing materials.
Except in cases of illness, it is well to decline invi-
tations "to visit ladies in their own apartments, unless
you are very intimately acquainted with them, or have
some particular business. Too much sociability may
induce communications too confidential; and subse-
quent events may prove this confidence to be mis-
placed.. Among the ladies staying at a hotel, there
is always more harmony, when they all content them-
selves with meeting at table, or in the public drawing-
room . Young ladies should not encourage daily
morning visits from young men boarding at the same
DEPORTMENT AT A HOTEL. 113
house, particularly if these visits are long. In our
country, nearly every young man is obliged, in some
way, to get his own living ; and few can afford to idle
away their mornings in loitering about parlours, and
talking flirtation. A youth who passes his time in
this manner, is a beau not worth having. A man that
deserves to be called a good match has something else
to do with his mornings. Ladies at hotels should be
specially careful not to make acquaintance with gentle-
men of whom they know nothing. If a man of noto-
riously dissipated or immoral character, presumes to
request an introduction to a lady who is aware of his
bad reputation, let her at once reply that not consider-
ing the acquaintance desirable, she must be excused
for declining it. It is better thus to keep off an
objectionable man, (even with the certainty of offend-
ing him,) than weakly to subject yourself to the annoy-
ance and discredit (perhaps, still worse) of allowing
him to boast of his intimacy with you.
In conversing with gentlemen at hotels, (and all
other places,) try not to fall into the too common
practice of talking to him nothing but nonsense. It
is a problem difficult to solve, that so many ladies of
good abilities and cultivated minds, and who always
with their own sex talk like intelligent, sensible wo-
men, should, as soon as they get into conversation
with a gentleman, seem immediately to take leave of
rationality, and demean themselves like utter fools —
giving way at once to something they call excitements
now the fashionable word for almost every feeling
that is wrong.
114 . MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR ROOK.
We grieve to see a charming, modest, refined young
lady, almost the moment a gentleman begins to talk
to her, changing her whole demeanour, and quickly
becoming bold, forward, noisy, and nonsensical ; chat-
tering at the top of her voice about nothing; and
keeping up a continual laugh about nothing. Does
she suppose he cannot understand her if she talks
sense, — or does she think he will like her the better
for regaling him with nothing but folly ? She is, in all
probability, egregiously mistaken, unless the gentle-
man is himself a simpleton.
Let it not be supposed that we have any objection
to that sprightliness which is one of the most agreeable
characteristics of youth. On the contrary, we are
glad to see vivacity in women of all ages ; and if they
have a sprinkling of wit and humour, so much the
better. But we wish them to do themselves justice ;
and not, when conversing with men, run wild, because
it is with men ; and give themselves up to all manner
of folly, such as would be pointless, vapid, and insipid,
if it was not seasoned with causeless laughter, and
with eyes keeping time to the tongue, rolling about in
perpetual motion at nothing. We do not wish ladies
in conversing, even with men of sense, to confine
themselves always to grave discussions on important
subjects. On the contrary, gay and lively conversa-
tion is always pleasant, when well-timed. But those
vho 'have not a talent for wit and humour, had best
not attempt it. Again, in listening to a woman of
real wit, you will see that it is her hearers who laugh,
and not herself.
DEPORTMENT AT A HOTEL. 115
Persons who have no turn for humour, and little
perception of it, are apt to mistake mere coarseness
for that amusing gift ; and in trying to be diverting,
often become vulgar — a word not too severe for things
that are sometimes said and written by very good
people who wish to be funny, and do not know how.
For instance, there is no wit, but there is shocking
ungentility, in a lady to speak of taking a "snooze"
instead of a nap, — in calling pantaloons "pants," or
gentlemen "gents," — in saying of a man whose dress
is getting old that he looks "seedy," — and in alluding
to an amusing anecdote, or a diverting incident, to say
that it is "rich." All slang words are detestable
from the lips of ladies.
We are always sorry to hear a young lady use such
a word as "polking" when she tells of having been
engaged in a certain dance too fashionable not long
since ; but happily, now it is fast going out, and almost
banished from the best society. To her honour be it
remembered, Queen Victoria has prohibited the polka
being danced in her presence. How can a genteel
girl bring herself to say, "Last night I was polking
with Mr. Bell," or "Mr. Cope came and asked me to
polk with him." Its coarse and ill-sounding name is
worthy of the dance.
If you own a lap-dog or poodle, recollect that how-
ever charming it may be to yourself, others may re-
gard it as an annoyance ; therefore, try to do without
it when you are in the parlour of a house that is not
your own, and when the company present does not
consist entirely of your own family. All but their
L16 R BOOK,
infatuated mistresses soon become very tired of the
society of these animals. Poodles are generally pee-
vish, whining, and snappish, prone to get under chairs
and bite at feet, and to writhe about the skirts of
dresses. Their faces often look old, withered, cross,
and blear-eyed, seeming as if constantly troubled by
the hair that dangles uncomfortably in their eyes ; and
they are seldom healthy. They have none of the
honest, grateful, affectionate character common to
dogs of larger growth. Though they often inspire
their mistress with a love that becomes such a mania
as to weaken her affection for all other things, they
seldom make friends of any one else. We include
what is called a King Charles's dog in the same cate-
gory. For instance Jip — whose character is as true
to nature, and as admirably drawn as that of Dora
Should a visiter come in to see one of the boarders
who may be sitting near you, change your place, and
take a seat in a distant part of the room. It is ill-
manners to remain, and listen to the conversation. It
is best for the visited lady to meet her friend as soon
as she sees her enter the room, and conduct her to a
Bofa or ottoman where they can enjoy their talk with-
out danger of being overheard. After the visiter is
gone, do not enquire her name of the friend she has
just called on.
It is not well to call at the same time on two ladies
both living at the same house, (so as to make one visit
suffice for both,) unless they are intimate friends of each
other, or unless your stay in the city will be very
DEPORTMENT AT A fTOTEL, 117
short. If one is taciturn, and the other conversable,
she that is silent may imagine herself neglected, by
the dialogue being chiefly between those who can talk
fluently, as it certainly will be, if the third person only
speaks when spoken to, and replies in monosyllables.
It is better to make a separate visit to each lady,
en different' days. There is another way, and a very
good one. For instance, should Mrs. Canning wish
to call on Mrs. Austin and Miss Lovel, both inmates
of the same house, let her, when shown into the par-
lour, send up her name to Mrs. Austin first. When
that lady comes down, and she and her friend have
conversed about as long as the usual term of a morn-
ing call, Mrs. Canning will rise to depart, and when
Mrs. Austin has seen her to the parlour door, Mrs. C.
may say, "I will detain you no longer," or "I will
encroach no longer on your time, but I am going now
to send up for Miss Lovel."
Mrs. Austin then takes her leave, and goes up-stairs,
[her part of the visit being over;) while Mrs. Canning
returns to her seat in the parlour, having first rung
the bell, and sent for Miss Lovel.
In this manner, two distinct visits may be politely
made to two ladies living in the same hotel — and it is
Any lady that lives at a hotel can in some degree
make a return for the civilities received from private
families, by occasionally inviting a friend to dine or
take tea with her. These dinners or teas are of course
always charged in her bill. If she expects a friend,
she will previously send to apprize the head-waiter
118 MTSS LESLIE'? BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
that she wishes him to reserve n seat next to her own,
for a lady. She should give her arm to her guest, in
going to the table.
If a friend chances to call, whom she really wishes
to stay and dine or drink tea with her, she should
ask her guest to take off her bonnet as soon as she
comes in; giving her the invitation at once, and not
delaying it till the visiter is about taking her leave.
Even in a private house, such extemporaneous
invitations (which if evidently sincere, are always
gratifying, whether accepted or not) should be given
immediately, as soon as the hostess meets her guest.
There will then be time to order any improvement in
the table arrangements that may be deemed necessary.
We often have occasion to repeat, that whatever is
done at all,' should be done well.
If, while in the parlour of the hotel, you wish to
know if a person you are desirous of seeing is staying
at the house, the easiest way to obtain the information,
is not to enquire round of the ladies present, but to
ring the bell, and desire the waiter to go and ask at
the office. You can then send a message accordingly.
It should be a card with a message pencilled on it.
By sending to the office you may learn where all
the public places in the city and its environs are to
be found. Also, where the churches are situated.
You may be sure that the most fashionable shops
are in the main street.
At any stationer's, you can buy a small pocket-map
of the city, folded in a little morocco case. This will
be an almost indispensable aid in finding your way.
DEPORTMENT AT A HOTEL. 119
In Philadelphia, the arrangement of the long streets
that run east and west from the Delaware to the
Schuylkill, has given occasion to the old rhyme of
Market, Archf Race and Vine,
Chestnut, Walnut, Spruce and Pine.
If when about to ascend the stairs, you find that a
gentleman is going up at the same time, draw back
and make a sign for him to precede you. He will
bow, and pass on before you. When coming down,
do the same, that the gentleman may descend in ad-
vance of you.
A very polished man will not wait for a signal from
the lady, but will bow and run up-stairs, passing her
as a thing of course.
Do not idly detain a parlour newspaper on your lap,
for half an hour or more, after you have done reading
it. As soon as you have read all you want, replace it
on the table, or transfer it to another lady, who may
wish to read it, and who may have been waiting anx-
iously to see you lay it out of your hand. You have
no right to monopolize any thing that is intended for
the convenience of the whole company.
120 Alias LESLIE^ LEllAVlUUli LOOK.
In dressing for a hotel dinner, it is not well to
adopt a full evening costume, and to appear as if
attired for a ball ; for instance, with a coloured velvet
gown; or one of a splendid brocade; or a transparent
gauze material over a satin ; or with short sleeves and
bare neck in cold weather; or with flowers or jewels
in the hair. Such costumes should be reserved for
evening parties. If worn at the table d'hote, it may
be suspected you have no other place in which to dis-
play them. Your dress need not be more showy than
you would wear when dining at a private house, par-
ticularly if you are a permanent boarder. There is
no place where dress escapes with less scrutiny than
at a great hotel. Still, it is bad taste to go to the
dinner-table in ungenteel and unbecoming habiliments
— such as a figured or party-coloured mousseline-de-
laine, a thing which always has the effect of calico,
and, like calico, gives an unlady-like look even to the
most decided lady. In fact, what is it but woollen
calico? And if it is accompanied by a very thin,
flimsy collar, so small and narrow as to be scarcely
visible, the neck and face will look dingy and ill-
coloured for want of sufficient white to relieve it. No
HOTEL DINNEK. V21
collar at all, but merely a coloured silk handkerchief,
or a coloured dress, coming immediately against the
neck, is disfiguring to all women, and men too.
Most American ladies beyond the age of thirty-five,
look better in caps than without them, even if their
hair shows no signs of middle age. Before that time,
the females of our country begin to fade, evincing one
effect of torrid summers and frozen winters. A
tasteful and simply elegant cap (not one that is
elaborate in its design, and loaded with ornament,)
imparts a grace and softness to a faded face, and
renders less conspicuous the inroads of time. A
decidedly old lady, persisting in going with her head
uncovered, is a pitiable object, and scarcely looks
respectable. Worse still, when she takes to an auburn
wig. Gray hair is seldom unbecoming to a man. To
a woman it gives a masculine aspect, especially if
wOrn without a cap; and if there is an attempt at
long gray locks, or ringlets, the effect is strange, wild
and ghastly. It is far more becoming for an elderly
lady to give a dark shade to her temples, and the
upper part of her forehead, by a plain, simple, and
becoming dark-coloured braid, not intended to pass as
her natural hair, (for it never does,) but merely that
the face should be set off by a due proportion of
shadow, — and not be all light or lightish. If a
decidedly old lady prefers wearing her own gray hair,
let her part it smoothly on her forehead, but make no
attempt at curls, and be sure £o add a cap to it. An
elderly female should, as we have said, always wear a
cap; and her cap should have tabs or broad strings to
1l'2 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
tic under her chin. There is no use or beauty in a
lady looking older than is necessary, by wearing a
short-eared or round-eared cap, set back from her
head, and exposing all her cheeks even beyond her
ears, with the crease in her chin, and the deep
furrows or wrinkles on each side of her neck — all
which can be concealed by bringing forward the bow
of her cap tabs.
Let all ladies, old and young, avoid having their
caps trimmed with ribbons or flowers of what are called
high-colours ; deep, heavy pinks and blues, and reddish
lilacs. These colours vulgarize every thing they are
intended to decorate. High-coloured ribbons, flowered
or figured, are decidedly vulgar.
A profusion of jewels at a public table is in very
bad taste, particularly if the jewellery is palpably
false — for instance, a large brooch with great mock
diamonds, or a string of wax beads meant for pearls.
Still worse, glass things imitating topazes or garnets
— or two or three gilt bracelets on one arm. A large
imitation gem always betrays its real quality by its size.
Endeavour to make your arrangements so as to be
dressed for dinner, and seated in the ladies' drawing-
room, about ten or fifteen minutes before the dining-
hour, that you may be ready to go in with the rest of
If you and your party are strangers, recently ar-
rived, do not at once take the lead, and walk up to the
head of the table, regardless of dislodging and causing
inconvenience among the regular boarders, to phom
those seats have been allotted. But desire a servant
HOTEL DINNER. 11^3
to show you a place. The head-waiter is usually at
hand to arrange seats for the strangers, and he will
attend to you. Persons jiot accustomed to hotels,
frequently show a great craving for the seats near the
head of the table. This is foolish. There are no
places of honour; neither are the eatables better at
one part of the table than another.
Nobody "sits below the salt." And every one has
an equal chance of obtaining a share of the nicest
articles on the table. What is most desirable is to
have a seat in the vicinity of agreeable people, and
you will more frequently find them about the middle,
or lower end of the table, than at the top — that being
the place usually most coveted by the least genteel of
the guests. We have seen the Chief Magistrate of the
Union, "the ruler of millions," simply take a seat
near the door, at the lower end of a hotel-table, in
Philadelphia, having arrived unexpectedly.
As we have said before, we perceive not the pro-
priety or the convenience of a large party of strangers,
on entering in a body, pertinaciously making their
way to the upper end of the table, with a determi-
nation to obtain seats all in a row; as if the whole
row together could join in the same conversation,
or even see each other, when they sit on the same
In seating yourself, look down for a moment to
see if you have placed the foot of your chair on the
dress of the lady sitting next to you ; and if you have
don# so, remove it immediately, that her dress may
be in no danger of tearing when she attempts to rise.
121 miss Leslie's behaviour look.
Sit close to the table, but never lean your elbows
upon it. To sit far from it, and reach out distantly,'
is very awkward. Having unfolded your napkin,
secure it to your belt with a pin, to prevent its slip-
ping down from your lap, and falling under the table.
This may be done so that the pinning will not be
perceptible. Bring with you a spare pin or two for
this purpose, — or keep always a pincushion in your
pocket. It is much better than to incur the risk of
getting your dress greased or stained by the napkin
deserting your lap. If such accidents should happen,
pass them over slightly, and do not lose your temper.
For the present, wipe the spot with your napkin, and
dip the corner in water, and rub it lightly over the
grease-mark. When dinner is over, you can finish
repairing the injury in your own room. The coloured
waiters are generally very clever at removing grease-
spots from dresses. One of them will do it for you
after dinner. The stain of wine or fruit may in most
cases be taken out of a washable article by laying it
immediately in cold water.
To eat in gloves or mittens was always foolish;
fortunately it is no longer fashionable; but greatly
Refrain from loud talking, or loud laughing.
Young ladies truly genteel are never conspicuously
noisy at a public table, or anywhere else. Still more
carefully refrain from whispering, or exchanging
significant glances. Whispers are always overheard,
(even when the vulgar precaution is taken of screening
your mouth with your hand,) and glances are always
HOTEL DINNER. 125
observed.* Joggings, nudgings, pinchings, sleeve-pull-
ings, &c. are excessively unlady-like, and shamefully
impudent when (as is often the case) the eye of the
jogger is fixed upon the object of the jog. To put up
an eye-glass at the face of a stranger, is very rude.
So it is to make remarks in French.
"When eating fish, first remove the bones carefully,
and lay them on the edge of your plate. Then with
your fork in your right hand, (the concave or hollow
side held uppermost,) and a small piece of bread in
your left, take up the flakes of fish. Servants, and
all other persons, should be taught that the butter-
sauce should not be poured over the fish, but put on
one side of the plate, that the eater may use it pro-
fusely or sparingly, according to taste, and be enabled
to mix it conveniently with the sauce from the fish-
castors. Pouring butter-sauce over any thing is now
Do not attempt removing a cover from a dish, that
you may help yourself before the rest of the company.
Leave all that to the waiters. Tell them what you
want in a distinct, but not in a loud, conspicuous voice.
In asking a servant to bring you a thing, add not the
useless and senseless words " will youV for instance,
"Bring me the bread, will you?" — "Give me some
water, will you?" Of course he will. Has he the
* A whisperer usually betrays herself by unconsciously fixing
her eyes on the person she is secretly talking of. If juu wish
to inform your neighbour that a distinguished person is present
lu,v softly, " Mr. C. is here, but do not look at him just now."
126 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
option of refusing? How you would be startled wer€
he to answer, " I will not*' It is well alwa^
even to servants, "I will thank you for the bread, —
or the water." If you nre a stranger in the house,
ask, at the beginning, the servant who waits on you to
tell you his name. This may save you some incon-
venience. Where servants are numerous, they should
always go by their surnames, and be called Wilson,
Jackson, Thomson, or whatever it may be. This will
prevent the confusion arising from half a dozen Johns,
or as many "Williams.
If the waiters are attentive, and in sufficient number,
you will have, at a good hotel, little or no occasion to
help yourself to any thing. Do not, under any cir-
cumstances, reach across the table, or rise on your
foet to get at any particular dish you may want.
Trouble no one of the company; but wait till you see
a servant at hand. No man who is a gentleman ever
puts the ladies in requisition to help him at table.
It is not customary at hotels for ladies to be assidu-
ous in watching and supplying the plates of gentlemen.
- can take care of themselves.
If in turning to speak to a waiter, you find him in
the act of serving some one else, say, " When you are
at leisure, I will thank you for some w T ater," — or what-
ever you may want.
It is selfish to be continually sending out of the room
the man who waits near you, for the purpose of bring-
ing extra things for yourself. Try to be satisfied
with what you find on the table, and recollect that
you are depriving other., of his services, while you
are dispatching him back and forward on errands to
Many persons hold silver forks awkwardly, as if not
accustomed to them. It is fashionable to use your
knife only while cutting up the -food small enough to
be eaten with the fork alone.. While cutting, keep
the fork in your left hand, the hollow or concave side
downward, the fork in a very slanting position, and
your fore-finger extended far down- upon its handle.
When you have done cutting up wnat you are going
to eat, lay aside your knife, transfer the fork to your
right hand, and take a small piece of bread in your
left. If eating any thing soft, use your silver fork
somewhat as a spoon, turning up the hollow side that
the cavity may hold the food. If engaged in talking,
do not, meanwhile, hold your fork bolt upright, but
incline it downward, so as to be nearly on a level with
your plate. Remember, always, to keep your own
knife, fork, and spoon out of the dishes. It is an
insult to the company, and a disgrace to yourself, to
dip into a dish any thing that has been even for a
moment in your mouth. To take butter or salt with
your own knife is an abomination. There is always a
butter-knife and a salt-spoon. It is nearly as bad to
take a lump of sugar with your fingers.
In eating bread at dinner, break off little bits, in-
stead of putting the whole piece to your mouth and
biting at it.
No lady looks worse than when gnawing a bone,
even of game or poultry. Few ladies do it. In fact,
nothing should be sucked or gnawed in public ; neither
128 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUB BOOK.
corn bitten off from the cob, nor melon nibbled from
the rind.* It is very ungraceful to eat an orange at
table, unless, having cut a bit off the top, you eat the
inside with a tea-spoon — otherwise reserve it for the
privacy of your own room. Always pare apples and
peaches; and crack no nuts with your teeth. In
eating cherries, put your half-closed hand before your
mouth to receive the stones; then lay them on one
side of your plate. To spit out the stones one at a
time as you proceed with the cherries is very ungen-
teel. Get rid of plumb-stones in the same manner.
Do not eat incongruous and unsuitable things from
the same plate, telling the waiter that "he need not
change it, as it will do very well." The washing of a
plate (more or less) is no object whatever in a large
establishment, and it is expected that the guests will
have clean ones very frequently.
It is an affectation of ultra-fashion to eat pie with a
fork, and has a very awkward and inconvenient look.
Cut it up first with your knife and fork both ; then
proceed to eat it with the fork in your right hand.
Much of this determined fork-exercise may be con-
sidered foolish. But it is fashionable.
If a lady wishes to eat lobster, let her request the
waiter that attends her, to extract a portion of it from
the shell, and bring it to her on a clean plate — also
to place a castor near her.
* It is, however, customary in eating sweet potatoes of a large
s^ze, to break them in two, and taking a piece in your hand, to
pierce down to the bottom with your fork, and then mix in some
butter, continuing to nold it thus while eating it.
HOTEL DINNER. 129
Novices in lobster sometimes eat it simply with
salt, or with vinegar only, or with black pepper. Thi3
betrays great ignorance of the article. To prepare it
according to the usual custom, — cut up, very small,
the pieces of lobster, and on another plate make the
dressing. First, mash together some hard-boiled yolk
of egg, and some of the red coral of the lobster, with
a little salt and cayenne. Mix in, with a fork, mus-
tard to your taste; and then a liberal allowance of
salad-oil, finishing with vinegar. Transfer the bits of
lobster to the plate that has the dressing, and combine
the whole with a fork. Lettuce salad is dressed in
the same manner.
At a public table, a lady should never volunteer to
dress salad for others of the company. Neither should
she cut up a pie, and help it round. These things
ought only to be done by a gentleman, or a servant.
If a gentleman with whom you are acquainted has
dressed a salad, and offers the plate to you, take what
you want, and immediately return to him the remain-
der ; and do not pass it on to persons in your vicinity.
It is his privilege, and not yours to offer it to others,
as he has had the trouble of dressing it. And it is
just that he should have a portion of it for himself,
which will not be the case if you officiously hand it
about to people around you. Leave It to him to dis-
pose of as he pleases.
It was formerly considered ill-manners to refuse to
take wine with a gentleman. Now that the fortunate
increase of temperance has induced so many persona
to abjure, entirely, the use of all liquors, it is no longer
MISS LESLIE S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
an offence to decline these invitations. If you have
no conscientious scruples, and if you are acquainted
with the gentleman, or have been introduced to him,
(not else,) you may comply with his civility, and when
both glasses are filled, look at him, bow your head,
and taste the wine. If you are placed between a lady
and gentleman who are taking wine together, lean
back a little that they may see each other's faces. It
is not customary, in America, for a lady to empty her
glass, — or indeed, at a hotel, or boarding-house, to
take wine with the same gentleman after the first day.
Next time he asks, politely refuse, simply desiring
him to excuse you. If he is a true gentleman, he will
regard your refusal in its proper light, and not persist.
We have often, at a public table, regretted to see ladies
in the daily practice of taking wine with the same
gentleman as often as invited. This "daily practice"
is improper, indelicate, and we will say mean — for
wine is expensive, and no lady should every day place
herself under the same obligation to the same gentle-
man, even for a single glass. He will not respect her
the more for doing so. On no consideration let any
lady be persuaded to take two glasses of champagne.
It is more than the head of an American female can
bear. And she may rest assured that (though un-
conscious of it berself) all present will find her cheeks
flushing, her eyes twinkling, her tongue unusually
voluble, her talk loud and silly, and her laugh inces-
sant. Champagne is very insidious ; and two glasses
may throw her into this pitiable condition.
If a stranger whom you do not know, and to whom
HOTEL DINNER. 131
you have had no introduction, takes the liberty of
asking you to drink wine with him, refuse at once,
positively and coldly, to prove that you consider it an
unwarrantable freedom, i And so it is.
If you are helped to any thing whose appearance
you do not like, or in which you are disappointed when
you taste it, you, of course, at a hotel table, are not
obliged to eat it. Merely leave it on your plate,
without audibly giving the reason ; and then, in a low
voice, desire the waiter to bring you something else.
It is well, while at table, to avoid any discussion of
the demerits of the dishes. On the other hand, you
may praise them as much as you please.
In refusing to be helped to any particular thing,
never give as a reason that "you are afraid of it," or
" that it will disagree with you." It is sufficient simply
to refuse; and then no one*has a right to ask why?
While at table, all allusions to dyspepsia, indigestion,
or any other disorders of the stomach, are vulgar and
disgusting. The word "stomach" should never be
uttered at any table, or indeed anywhere else, except
to your physician, or in a private conversation with a
female friend interested in your health. It is a dis-
agreeable word, (and so are all its associations,) and
should never be mentioned in public to "ears polite."
Also, make no remarks on what is eaten by persons
near you, (except they are children, and under your
own care,) such as its being unwholesome, indigestible,
feverish, or in any way improper. It is no business
of yours; and besides, you are not to judge of others
by yourself. No two constitutions are alike, and what
L32 miss Leslie's behaviour took.
is very bad for you, may be perfectly innoxious to
others. If persons are with you in whom yon are
much interested, and over whom you have influence,
and they seem inclined to eat what is bad for them,
refrain from checking them in presence of strangers.
Above all, do not open your eyes, and hold up your
hands, and exclaim against their folly, and want of
self-control, and predict their certain sufferings from
that cause. But if you must remonstrate, wait till
you have quitted the table, and find yourself alone
with the delinquent.
Never, while at table, (whether in public or private,)
allow yourself to talk on painful or disgusting subjects.
Avoid all discussions of sicknesses, sores, surgical
operations, dreadful accidents, shocking cruelties, or
horrible punishments. A love of such topics, evinces
a coarse and unfeminine mind. It is rude in gentle-
men at any time to introduce them before ladies;- and
a polished man never does so. The conversation at
table should be as cheerful and pleasant as possible.
Political and sectarian controversies ought to have no
place there. Shakspeare truly says, " Unquiet meals
make ill digestion."
Avoid the discussion at table of private affairs ; either
your own, or those of other people. Remember that
"servants have ears," and frequently much more quick-
ness of comprehension and retentiveness of memory
than is generally supposed. So have children.
Abstain from picking your teeth at table. Not-
withstanding that custom has allowed this practice in
Europe, (even in fashionable society,) it is still a very
HOTEL DINGER. 133
disagreeable one, and to delicate spectators absolutely
sickening to behold. Delay it till you are alone, and
till you can indulge in it without witnesses. We know
that it is quite possible to go on through a long life,
and to have clean teeth, without ever once having
been seen to pick them ; and yet those teeth are really
picked after every meal.
Should you chance to be extremely incommoded by
some extraneous substance that has gotten between
your teeth, you can remove it unperceived, by holding
up your napkin or handkerchief before your mouth, so
as effectually to conceal the process. When you take
any thing out of your teeth, do not make the persons
who are near you sick, by laying the disgusting par-
ticle on the side of your plate ; but conceal it imme-
diately. Still, nothing but "sheer necessity" can
excuse any teeth-picking at table.
• We have seen a young lady, at a very fashionable
house in one of our great cities, pull a dish of stewed
oysters close to her, and with a table-spoon fish out
and eat the oysters one at a time; audibly sipping up
their liquor from the said dish.
We have seen a young gentleman lift his plate of
soup in both hands, hold it to his mouth and drink, or
rather lap it up. This was at no less a place than
We have heard of a well-dressed stranger at a great
hotel dn Boston, who having used his own knife for
the butter, flew into a violent passion with the waiter
for respectfully pointing out to him the silver butter-
knife. Swearing that the knife he had been putting
134 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
in his mouth was quite good enough, afterward, for
any butter in the world, the gentleman flung the silver
knife across the table, and broke it against the wall.
For this exploit he had to pay five dollars.
A man that habitually rises on his feet to reach
across the table for a dish, and pulls it to himself,
instead of desiring the waiter to bring it to him, is
unworthy the appellation of a gentleman. Ladies, of
course, cannot be guilty of this abomination ; but it is
true that they sometimes extend their arms entirely
too far, in trying to get at something which a servant
would bring them if asked to do so.
Some persons behave coarsely at a public table
because they are ignorant, and know no better. Some
(far less excusable) are rude because they are too
selfish to put any restraint on their inclinations, or to
care for the convenience of others.
Some display, all the time, a vulgar determination to
"get the full worth of their money." Some, who at
a private dinner-table would be the most polite people
imaginable, lay aside their good manners in a public
dining-room ; regarding a hotel as they would a ta-
vern — a sort of Liberty Hall. And some are insolent
by way of "showing their consequence," — having, in
reality, mixed so little with true people of consequence,
as not to be aware that persons of high station are,
with few exceptions, entirely free from the assumption
of undue importance.
Servants are often very shrewd observers, and they
always say that real gentlefolks "never take airs."
Neither they do.
HOTEL DINNER. 135
When the finger-glasses are sent round, dip a clean
corner of your napkin into the water, and wet round
your lips with it, but omit the disgusting foreign
fashion of taking water into your mouth, rinsing and
gurgling it round, and then spitting it back into the
glass. Wait till you can give your mouth a regular
and efficient washing up-stairs. Dip your fingers into
the glass, rub them with the slice of lemon, or the
orange-leaf that may be floating on the surface, and
then wipe them on the napkin. We have heard of a
man who saw finger-glasses for the first time in his
life, when dining at one of the New York hotels. A
slice of lemon floating on the top, he took up the bowl
and drank the water, exclaiming as he set it down —
"Well' if this isn't the poorest lemonade I ever
On quitting the table, it is not necessary to fold up
your napkin. Merely lay it on the table near your
plate. The napkins will be immediately collected by
the servants, carried to the laundry, and thrown at
once into tubs of water, to take out the stains.
When dinner is over, and yju see that nearly all
the company, except two or three, have left the table,
it is not well to be one of that two or three, and to
remain to an indefinite period, loitering over the laflt
pickings of a plate of nuts — nut-picking being always
a tedious business. The waiters are, by this time,
very tired of standing, and they (like all other people)
are entitled to some consideration of their comfort.
Even the attraction of a beau drinking his wine beside
er, ought not to induce a young lady to outstay alJ
lot) miss Leslie's behavioub book.
the company, with the pretext of being passionately
fond of nuts. She may indulge this passion at any
time by keeping a bag of them in her own room.
The English travellers who visit America are often
right in their remarks on many of our customs. And
instead of resenting these remarks, we might profit by
them, and reform.
For instance, it is true that the generality of Ameri-
cans eat too fast, for their own health, and the comfort
of those about them; masticating their food very
slightly, and not allowing themselves time enough to
enjoy their meals. The French, however, eat faster
still, and can dispatch a surprising quantity of food in
less time than any people in the civilized world. If
we pattern after either nation in the customs of the
table, the genteel English are far better models than
most of their neighbours across the Channel. But the
best class of Americans are unsurpassed in the essen-
tials of all these observances. The English attach too
much importance to ceremonies merely conventional,
and for which there seems no motive but the ever-
changing decrees of fashion. Yet, on going to Eng-
land, let every American lady take care to make
herself acquainted with these ceremonies; for her
ignorance of them will find no quarter there — and she
need not flatter herself that it will be passed over un-
In most hotels it is not customary to have hot cakes
or any warm dishes on the tea-table, except in cold
\v outlier. We think, in a summer afternoon, they can
be easily dispensed with, and that ladies might be
HOTEL DINNER. 137
satisfied with sweet cakes, fruit, preserves, and other
things more delicate, and more suited to the hour,
than the hot preparations they sometimes call for;
and which, by not seeing them on the table, they
may be assured do not come within scope of the tea-
arrangements. It is expecting too much to suppose
the cook will be willing to mix batter-cakes and bake
them, or to scorch over the fire with broiling or stew-
ing relishes, in a warm summer evening — or even to
make toast, except for an invalid. Also, every one
should know that a substantial meal (including tea
and coffee) can generally be had at the nine o'clock
supper-table. In houses where there is no nine o'clock
supper, the tea-table is set out with greater profusion
At hotels, the interval between dinner and tea is
usually short; the tea-hour being early, that the
guests may have ample time to prepare for going to
places of amusement. Yet there are ladies who,
though spending all the evening at home, will remain
sitting idly in the parlour till eight o'clock, (or later
still,) keeping the table standing and servants waiting
in attendance, that they may have a better appetite,
and be able to make a heartier meal at their tea.
This is selfish and inconsiderate, particularly as they
might easily wait a little longer, and take their tea or
coffee at the supper-table. Their appetites would then
be still better. The servants certainly require rest,
and should be exempt from all attendance in the ladies'
eating-room, for an hour or two in the evening.
No lady can remain long in the drawing-room
138 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
talking to a gentleman after all the rest have retired
for the night, without subjecting herself to remarks
which it w r ould greatly annoy her to hear — whether
merited or not. Neither is it well for her to be seen
continually sitting at the same window with the same
Ladies and gentlemen who wish to hold private-
dialogues, should not for that purpose monopolize a
centre-table; thereby preventing persons who wish to
read from availing themselves of the light of the
chandelier above it. Lover3 who have proper con-
sideration, (a rare occurrence,) always sit as far as
possible from the rest of the company, and so they
should — unless they can bring themselves to join in
general conversation. That is, if the lovership is real.
In many cases the semblance is only assumed to pro-
duce effect, and the talk has really nothing secret or
mysterious about it, and might just as well be uttered
In making acquaintance with a stranger at a hotel,
there is no impropriety (but quite the contrary) in
enquiring of her from what place she comes. In
introducing yourself give your name audibly; or
what is still better, if you have a card about you,
present that; and she should do the same in return.
Before you enter into conversation on any subject
connected with religion, it will be well to ask her to
what church she belongs. This knowledge will guard
you from indulging, inadvertently, in sectarian re-
marks which may be displeasing to her, besides pro-
ducing a controversy which may be carried too far,
HOTEL DINNER. 139
and jjroduce ill-feeling between tne parties. We li tve
known the mere question, a Have you been to church
to-day?" when asked of a stranger at a Sunday dinner-
table, bring on a dialogue of great asperity, and very
annoying to the hearers. As it cannot possibly con-
cern yourself whether the strangers at a hotel have
been to church or not, or what church they have
visited, omit catechising them at table on this or any
other religious subject. We have never known a
clergyman guilty of this solecism in good sense and
When you give a gratuity to a servant — for instance,
to the man who waits on you at table, or he that
attends your room, or to the chambermaid or the
errand-boy — give it at no regular time, but whenever
you think proper, or find it convenient. It is inju-
dicious to allow them to suppose that they are to do
you no particular service without being immediately
paid for it. It renders them mercenary, rapacious,
and neglectful of other boarders who are less profuse ;
not reflecting that the servants are hired to w T ait on
the company, and are paid wages for doing so, by the
proprietor of the establishment, and that it is there-
fore their duty to him, and to his guests, to exert
themselves so to give satisfaction. Still, it is right
and customary to pay them extra for conveying your
baggage up and down stairs when you are departing
from the house or returning to it. Carrying heavy
♦baggage is very hard work even for strong men. If
you are a permanent boarder, and from ill-health
vequire extra attendance, it is well to give a certain
140 jtiss Leslie's behaviour look.
;um, month)/', to each of the servants who waitjsrpon
you; and then they will not expect any thing more,
except on extraordinary occasions. And to each of
them, separately, give the money with your own hand.
In short, whatever you give to any one, (servants or
others,) it is safest, when convenient, to bestow it in
person. There will then be no mistakes, no forget
tings, and no temptation to embezzlement.
If you live in Philadelphia, you will find it very
convenient, in most cases, to send messages by a note
with a stamp on it, put into the city-post. There is
a mail-bag and a letter-box at all hotels, and at most
of the large boarding-houses. The errand-boy of the
hotel carries parcels, and takes such messages as
require an immediate answer. For a distance of any
consequence, he will expect from twelve to twenty-
five cents. For little errands in the immediate
neighbourhood, less will suffice. When a servant
brings you small change, do not tell him to keep it.
It is giving him the bad habit of expecting it always ;
and at times when you may have occasion, yourself,
for that very change. It is the worst way of feeing
them. On leaving the house, and at Christmas, it is
customary to give a fee rather larger than usual, to
the servants who have been your attendants. But as
we have said before, give it with your own hands.
It is ungenerous and most unjustifiable to bribe
the servants to neglect other boarders, (whose place is
near yours,) for the purpose of their bestowing on you
a double share of attention. It is taking an undutr
advantage, which in the end will come out badly.
HOTEL DINNER. 141
All^persons who go to hotels are not able to lavish
large and frequent gratuities on the servants. But
all, for the price they pay to the proprietor, are en-
titled to an ample share of attention from the do-
It is very mean and unladylike to gossip secretly
"with the servants, and question them about any of the
other guests. Still worse, to repeat what they tell
you, and give them as authority. Treat them always
with kindness and civility, but have no confidential
and familiar intercourse with them. To those you
know, it is but common civility to bid good morning
every day. Coloured people you may always gratify
by saying a few words to them, now and then, in
passing. They value this little kindness, and will not
presume upon it like those from "the old country,"
who, if treated familiarly, will frequently take liberties,
and lose all respect for you. Elderly coloured people,
(particularly in the South,) like much to be called
"aunt" or "uncle;" and it degrades no white lady to
please them by doing so.
In all hotels, it is against the rule to take out of
the ladies' drawing-room any books that . may be
placed there for the general convenience of the com-
pany, such as dictionaries, guide-books, directories,
magazines, &c. If you borrow a file of newspapers
from the reading-room, get done with them as soon
as you can, lest they should be wanted there by the
gentlemen ; and as soon as you have finished, ring for
a servant to carry them back.
Be careful, in cold weather, always to shut tile
142 miss Leslie's behaviour look.
parlour-doors after you. If you think the room too
warm, do not throw open either door or window, with-
out first enquiring if it will cause inconvenience to any
one present. It is a good practice to carry a pocket
fan even in winter, in case you should chance to feel
the heat more sensibly than any other lady in the
room. If the heat of the grate causes you inconve-
nience, enquire if there is any objection to having the
blower brought in and stood up before it. If not,
ring the bell and order it.
If you have an anthracite fire in your chamber, and
wish to extinguish it on retiring for the night, take the
tongs, and lifting off some of the largest coals from
the top, lay them beneath the grate. Then, with the
shut-tongs or the poker, make a deep hollow in the
centre of the fire ; raking it into two hills, one on each
side, leaving a valley down in the middle. It will
begin to blacken immediately, and go out in a few
minutes. If you cannot do this yourself, ring for a
This is the only way to put out an anthracite fire,
whether in a grate or a stove. — There is no other.
There are few places where the looks and manners
of the company are more minutely scanned than on
ship-board; and few where the agreeability of a lady
will be more highly appreciated. There is little or no
variety of objects to attract attention. The passengers
are brought so closely into contact with each other, and
confined to so small a neighbourhood, or rather so many
neighbours are crowded into so small a space, that all
their sayings and doings are noticed with unusual at-
tention, by those who are well enough to regard any
thing but themselves. Sea-sickness is a very selfish
malady, — and no wonder that it is so. Fortunately it
is less prevalent than formerly, thanks to the improve-
ments in cabin-room, ventilation, lodging, food, and
many other things connected with ocean-travelling.
A lady who is not of a bilious or dyspeptic habit, and
who has taken precautionary medicine a few days be-
fore commencing the voyage, frequently escapes sea-
sickness altogether; or at least gets well after the
first day or two.
It is best not to be over-officious in offering your
aid to the sick ladies, unless they are your intimate
friends. The stewardess of a packet-ship is generally
Ill MISS LESLIE 1 BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
all-sufficient; and much more capable of attending to
their wants than you can be. Sea-sickness renders
its victims very querulous ; and few like to be continu-
ally reminded of their condition by enquiries too often
repeated of — " How do you find yourself now V* " Do
you feel any better?" or, "Do you think you could
not eat something?" To one very much prostrated
by the effects of the sea-motion, the mere replying to
these questions is an additional misery. Whatever
sympathy you may feel, at the time, for those afflicted
with the marine malady, remember that it is a dis-
order which never kills, but very frequently cures.
If you are sick yourself, say as little about it as
possible. And never allude to it at table, where you
will receive little sympathy, and perhaps render your-
self disgusting to all who hear you. At no time talk
about it to gentlemen. Many foolish commonplace
sayings are uttered by ladies who attempt to describe
the horrors of sea-sickness. For instance this — "I
felt all the time as if I wished somebody to take me
up, and throw me overboard." This is untrue — no
human being ever really did prefer drowning to sea-
"When the ship is actually in danger, this malady is
always frightened away; the feelings of the mind
entirely overpowering those of the body.
Try to avoid supposing that every fresh gale is a
violent storm; but confide in the excellence of the
ship, and the skill of its navigators. Yet, though not
afraid yourself, remember that others may be so, and
do not try to show your courage by indulging in undue
gayety. Mirth is out of place when the sky is over-
cast with gloom, the wind blowing hard, and the waves
" running mountains high," and foaming and roaring
all round the vessel.
If there is truly a violent tempest, and if the danger
is real and imminent, trust to that Almighty Power
who is with you always, — on the sea, and on the land ;
and silently and fervently implore his protection.
No captain likes to be teazed with importunities
concerning the probable length of the passage. You
may be sure he will do all he can to make it as short
as possible. In rough weather, refrain from asking,
whenever you see him, "If there is any danger?" If
there really is, he will certainly let you know it in
Endeavour to live harmoniously with your fellow-
passengers. Avoid such national allusions as may
give offence to the foreigners. If you find that any
of them are in the frequent practice of sneering at
your own country, or speaking of it disrespectfully,
repress your resentment, resort to no recrimination,
but refrain from further conversation with that indi-
vidual, and leave him to the gentlemen. If a female
foreigner is in the habit of gratuitously abusing
America, endeavou^ calmly to convince her that her
ideas of your country are erroneous. If she will not
be convinced, (as is most likely, if she is an ungenteel
Englishwoman,) give up the attempt, and leave her to
herself. If you have a taste for the ridiculous, you
will regard her prejudices and the expression of them
only as objects of amusement.
146 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
Avoid all arguments with a woman of irritable dis-
position, lest you arc drawn in yourself to defend your
opinion too warmly. You will soon find whether or
not you can convince her, or whether she is likely to
convince you. And it is worse than useless for both
to continue protracting the argument, when they know
that the opinion of neither will be shaken. Also, it
is foolish to keep on repeating the same ideas, with no
change but in a few of the words.
Long and turbulent discussions are peculiarly annoy-
ing on ship-board, particularly in rainy weather, when
for the weary and pent-up audience, "there's no door
to creep out."
It is certainly advisable for every lady on ship-
board to endeavour to make herself as' agreeable as
she can, and not to suppose that all her "whims and
oddities" will be excused because she is suffering "the
pains and penalties" of the sea, and is therefore not
"a responsible being." If free from sickness, a lady
may propose or promote many pleasant little amuse-
ments and occupations; such as playing children's
games on deck, or taking a part in chess, chequers,
and backgammon in the cabin. Ladies sometimes
form a regular little coterie, for assembling at certain
hours, and employing themselves in knitting, bead-
work, light-sewing, &c. while a gentleman reads aloud
to them in some entertaining book. In the evening,
vocal concerts will be an agreeable variety, as there
are always some persons on board who can sing. And
when the weather is fine, and the ship steadily laying
her course, a moonlight dance on deck is delightful.
A young lady should improve the opportunity of
learning the names of the principal parts of the ship.
It is a silly boast at the end of the voyage, (and yet
we have heard such boasts,) to say that you do not
know the fore-mast from the main-mast ; and that you
have no idea where the mizen-mast is, much less the
bow-sprit. And even if a fair damsel should be able
to distinguish the fore-topsail from the jib, and to
know even the flying-jib, and have learnt the difference
between the compass and the quadrant, and the log-
line and the lead-line, we opine that "the gentlemen"
will think none the worse of her ; to say nothing of
the satisfaction it will afford herself to listen with some
comprehension to talk concerning the ship, and to
read understandingly a few of the numerous excellent
novels that treat of "life on the ocean wave."
If you have, unfortunately, the rude and unamiable
habit of laughing whenever you see any one get a fall,
leave it off when on ship-board, — where falls are of
continual occurrence from the rolling of the vessel,
and the steepness of the stairs. We never could tell
why a fall, even on the ice, should be regarded as a
subject of mirth, when the chance is that it may pro-
duce a serious hurt, and is always attended with some
pain or some annoyance at least. Low-bred women
always say they cannot help laughing at such sights.
We think ladies ought always to help it, and hasten
at once to the relief of the sufferer, to ascertain if they
Be washed and dressed neatly every day. This
148 MI9 ' LESLIE' BED iVIOUR BOOK.
can generally be managed with the assistanee of the
female servants — even if you are sick.
A piano never sounds well on ship-board — the cabins
are too small, and the ceilings too low. To the sick
and nervous, (and all who are sea-sick become very
nervous,) this instrument is peculiarly annoying.
Therefore be kind enough to spare them the annoy-
ance. You can practise when the weather is finej
and the invalids are on deck. Pianos have been
abolished in many of the finest ships. Such instru-
ments as can be carried on deck, and played in the
open air, are, on the contrary, very delightful at sea,
when in the hands of good performers — particularly
on a moonlight evening.
In going to England, take with you no American
reprints of English books, unless you intend leaving
them on board the ship. If you attempt to land them,
they will be seized at the custom-house. American
books by American authors are not prohibited.
Make no attempt to smuggle any thing. You may
be detected and disgraced. The risk is too great,
and the advantage too little.
When you leave your state-room to sit in the ladies'
cabin, do not fall to relating the particulars of your
sickness, or complaining of the smallness of your
apartment, the rolling of the ship, or the roughness
of the waves. These inconveniences are unavoidable,
and must always be expected in a sea- voyage; and
talking about them too much seems to magnify their
If there is any deficiency in accommodations or
attentions, either try as well as you can to do without
them, or in a kind and considerate manner endeavour
to obtain them of the servants, if not too inconvenient,
or against the ship's regulations.
It is very inconsiderate to have things cooked at
luncheon time purposely for yourself. Ladies who
are quite well will sometimes order baked apples,
stewed prunes, buttered toast, arrow-root, cups of tea
or coffee, &c, — notwithstanding that the lunch-table
is always profusely spread with a variety of cold
articles; and that when dinner is cooking at the same
time, the small size of the kitchen renders any extra
preparations very inconvenient to the preparers.
I ",0 MI
The practice of inclosing letters in envelopes is now
universal ; particularly as when the letter is single no
additional postage is charged for the cover. The
postage now is in almost every instance pre-paid, ifc
being but three cents when paid by the writer, and
five if left to the receiver. Therefore, none but very
poor or very mean people send unpaid letters. Let-
ter-stamps for the United States post should be kept
in a little box on your writing-table. You can get
them always by sending to the post-office — from a
dollar's worth or more, down to fifty or twenty-five
cents' worth, at a time. In a second box, keep stamps
for the city or penny post, which transmits notes from
one part of the town to another. And in a third,
stamps to go on the covers of newspapers.
Sealing with wax is found to be very insecure for
letters that are carried by steamers into warm cli-
mates — the wax melting with the heat, and sticking
the letters to each other, so that they cannot be
separated without tearing. Wafers are better.
It would be very convenient to use the post-office
stamp as a seal, but the clerks in that establishment
charge extra postage for the trouble of turning the
letter to mark the stamp. This subjects the receiver
to the payment of two additional cents.
In writing upon business exclusively your own, for
instance to make a request, to ask for information, to
petition for a favour, or to solicit an autograph, it is
but right not only to pay the postage of your own
letter, but to enclose a stamp for the answer. This is
always done by really polite and considerate people.
You have no right, when the benefit is entirely your
own, to cause any extra expense to the receiver of the
letter — not even the cost of three cents to pay the
postage back again. It is enough to tax their fime
by requiring them to write to you and send off the
reply. Also, in corresponding with a relative, or very
intimate friend, to whom even a small expense is of
more importance than to yourself, you may enclose a
stamp for the answer. Do so always in writing to
poor people. Be careful not to allow yourself to get
entirely out of post-office stamps. Replenish your
stock in time. If the gum on the back seems too
weak, go over it afresh with that excellent cement,
" Perpetual Paste." Embossed or bordered envelopes
are not often used except in notes of ceremony — or
when the acquaintance is slight. The same with
ornamented note-paper. Intimate friends and rela-
tives use paper that is handsome, but plain. Letters
of business are generally enclosed in yellow or buff-
coloured envelopes. Some of these yellow envelopes
are large enough to contain a folio sheet when folded.
152 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUB LOOK.
Notes not to be sent by post, are usually scaled with
wax — the seal very small. But a small wafer is
admissible — a white one looks best for a note. In
folding your note or letter, see that it is not too large
to go into the envelope. It is customary to write the
direction on the envelope only. Nevertheless, if ttte
letter is to go a long distance by post, the envelope
may be worn off, or torn off accidentally, -or get so
damaged in the letter-bag as to be rendered illegible.
The surest and safest way is to put the address
on the letter also ; or if the sheet is full, to find a
corner for the direction, either at the beginning or
We have seen no good letter-paper at less price
than twenty-five cents per quire; and for that it ought
to be very good. If of lower cost, you may find it
soft and fuzzy, so that the pen will not move freely,
(the nib wearing out directly,) or so thin that you can-
not write on both sides of the sheet. In/paper, as in
most other things, the best is the cheapest. If the
tint is bluish, the writing will not be so legible as on a
pure white. The surface should&e smooth and glossy.
For letter writing ruled paper is rarely used, except
by children. In writing for the press, no other is so
convenient. A page of ruled lines to slip beneath, is
indispensable to those who cannot otherwise write
straight. They are to be had for a few cents at every
stationer's. It is well to get three different sizes. If
you write a small hand, the lines should be closer to-
gether than if your writing is large. If you are
addressing a friend and have much to say, and expect
to fill the sheet, begin very near the top of the first
page. But if jour letter is to be a short one, com-
mence lower down, several inches from the top. If a
very short letter of only a few lines, begin but a little
above the middle of the page. Crossing a letter all
over with transverse lines is obsolete. It is in-
tolerable to read, and there is no excuse for it now,
when postage is so low, and every body pays their
Write the date near the right-hand side of the first
page, and place it about two lines higher than the two
or three words of greeting or accosting with which
letters usually commence. Begin the first sentence a
little below those words, and farther toward the right
than the lines that are to follow. It is well in dating
every letter to give always your exact residence — that
is, not only the town you live in, but the number and
street. If your correspondent has had hut one notifi-
cation of your present place of abode, she may have
forgotten the number, and even the street. Your letter
containing it may not be at hand as a reference, and
the answer may, in consequence, be misdirected — or
directed in so vague a manner that it will never reach
you. We have known much inconvenience (and in-
deed loss) ensue from not specifying with the date of
each letter the exact dwelling-place of the writer.
But if it is always indicated at the top of every one, a
reference to any one of your letters will furnish your
proper address. If you are in the country, where
there are no streets or numbered houses, give tho
name of the estate and that of the nearest post-town ;
154 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVI01 R BOOK.
also the county and state. All this -will occupy a
long line, but you will find the advantage. If your
letter fills more than one sheet, number each page.
Should you have no envelope, leave, on the inside of
the third page, two blank spaces where the seal is to
come. These spaces should be left rather too large
than too small. Lest you should tear the letter in
breaking it open, it is best to cut round the seal. We
have seen letters that were actually illegible from the
paleness of the ink. If you write from your own
house this is inexcusable, as you ought always to be
ivell supplied with that indispensable article ; and in a
city you can easily send to a stationer's and buy it.
It is still better to make it yourself; than which
nothing is more easy. The following receipt we know,
by experience, to be superlative. Try it.
Buy at a druggist's four ounces of the best blue
Aleppo nut-galls; half an ounce of green copperas;
and half an ounce of clean, white gum-arabic. These
three articles must be pulverized in a mortar. Put
them into a large, clean, white-ware pitcher, and pour
on a quart of boiling water. Stir the whole with a
stick that will reach to the bottom, and set the pitcher
in a warm place; covering it lightly with a folded
newspaper. In about an hour, stir it again very
hard ; and repeat the stirring several times during the
day. Let it remain in the pitcher several days, or a
week, till it becomes an excellent black ; the blacken-
ing will be accelerated by keeping the pitcher in the
sun; for instance, in a sunny balcony. Stir it, down
to the bottom, two or three times a day — always with
a stick. Use nothing of -metal in making this ink.
When it is very black, and writes well, pour it off
carefully from the bottom, (which must have rested
undisturbed for two or three hours previous,) passing
it through a funnel into pint-bottles. Before you
cork them, put into each a large tea-spoonful of
brandy, to prevent moulding, or a few drops of
lavender. A small tea-spoonful of cloves, (slightly
broken,) placed in the bottom of each bottle, before
the ink is poured in, will answer the same purpose.
Scouring the pitcher with soap and sand, after throw-
ing away the dregs of the ink, will completely clear
off the stains.
Ink-stands should be washed out, before they are
There is no ink superior to this in blackness or
smoothness. You can make it at less than half the
cost of that which you buy in the shops. It looks
blacker the next day after using, and never fades.
If it becomes rather too thick, dilute it slightly with
water, and stir it down to the bottom.
Never use blue ink. If the letter chances to get
wet, the writing will be effaced. Serious losses have
resulted from business letters being written in blue
If you make a mistake in a word, draw your pen
through it, or score it so as to be quite illegible, and
then interline the correction, placing a caret be-
neath. This will be better than scratching out the
error with your penknife, and afterward trying to
Write a new word in the identical place ; an attempt
1.30 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
which rarely succeeds, even with the aid of pounce-
powder, which is pulverized gum-sandarac.
At the end of the letter, somewhat lower than your
signature, (which should be very near the right-hand
edge of the page,) add the name and address of the
person for whom the letter is designed, and to whom
it will thus find its way, even if the envelope should
be defaced, or torn off and lost. "Write your own
name rather larger than your usual hand, and put a
dot or dash after it.
Some of the ensuing paragraphs are taken (with
permission of the publisher) from a former work of
In folding a letter, let the breadth (from left to
right) far exceed the height. A letter folded tall is
ridiculous, and one verging towards squareness looks
very awkward. It is well to use a folder (or paper-
knife) to press along the edges of the folds, that they
may be smooth and straight. If one is looser than
another, or if there is the slightest narrowing in, or
widening out, toward the edge of the turn-over, the
letter will have an irregular, unsightly appearance.
Pieces of ruled lines may be so cut that you can slip
them under the back of a letter after it is folded, and
then you will be in no danger of writing the direction
crooked, or uneven.
Write the name of your correspondent about the
middle of the back, and very clearly and distinctly.
Then give the number and street on the next line, a
little nearer to the right. Then the town in large
letters, extending still nearer to the right. If u
country-town, give next (in letters a little smaller)
the name of the county in which it is situated. This
is very necessary, as in some of our states there is
more than one town of the same name, and " Wash-
ingtons" all over the Union. Lastly, at the very
bottom, and close to the right, indicate the state
or district by its usual abbreviation, — for instance,
Me. for Maine*— iV. H. New Hampshire— Vt. Ver-
mont — Mass. Massachusetts — R. I. Rhode Island —
Ot. or Conn. Connecticut — N". Y. New York — N. J.
New Jersey — Pa. or Penna. Pennsylvania — Del. Dela-
ware— Md. Maryland — Va. Virginia — JSF. 0. North
Carolina — S. O. South Carolina — Gra. or Greo. Georgia
— Ala. Alabama — Miss. Mississippi — Mo. Missouri —
La. Louisiana — Tenn. Tennessee — Ky. Kentucky —
0. Ohio — Ind. Indiana — III. Illinois — Mich. Michi-
gan — Ark. Arkansas — Wis. Wisconsin — Io. Iowa —
Tex. Texas— Flo. Florida— Qal. California— Or. Ore-
gon — Minn. Minnesota — Utah — D. C. District of Co-
To these may be added the abbreviations of the
British possessions in North America: U. Q. Upper
Canada — L. O. Lower Canada — W. S. Nova Scotia —
iV. B. New Brunswick — N. P. New Providence.
In directing a letter to a foreign country, give the
whole name, as France, Spain, Belgium, England,
Ireland, Scotland, &c. We have towns in America
called after all manner of European towns. For in-
* When the name of the state is short, you may give all the
letters that compose it, a& Maine — Ohio — Iowa — Texas — Utah.
158 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUB BOOK.
stance, a letter directed to our Havre-de-Grace, might,
If Maryland was not designated, find its way to Havre-
de-Grace in France ; Rome in the state of New York
might be taken to Rome in Italy, — York in Pennsyl-
vania to York in England, &c. We know an instance
of a gentleman directing an important letter to Boston,
and, forgetting to add Mass. (for Massachusetts) at the
bottom, the letter actually went from Philadelphia to
the small town of Boston in Lincolnshire, England.
In writing from Europe, finish the direction with the
words United States of North America.
"When you send a letter by a private opportunity, (a
thing which is already almost obsolete since the days
of cheap postage,) it will be sufficient to introduce very
near the lower edge of the left-hand corner of the
back, simply the name of the gentleman who carries
it, written small. It is now considered old-fashioned
to insert on the back of such a letter — "Politeness of
Mr. Smith" — "Favoured by Mr. Jones" — "Honoured
by Mr. Brown." If the letter is to cross the sea, by
mail or otherwise, write the name of the vessel on the
left-hand corner of the outside.
When a letter is to go to New York city, always
put the words New York in full, (and not N. Y.,)
written large. Much confusion is caused by the name
of this state and its metropolis being the same. It
has been well-suggested that the name of the state of
New York should be changed to Ontario — a beautiful
change. In directing to any of the towns in the state
of New York, then put N. Y. after the name of the
town, as Hudson, N. Y., — Syracuse, N. Y., &c.
LETTER-. I 5^
In sending a letter to the metropolis of the Union,
direct for Washington, D. C.
In directing to a clergyman, put Rev. ("Reverend)
before his name. If a bishop, Right Reverend. To
an officer, immediately after his name put U. S. A. for
United States Army, or U. S. N. for United States
Navy — having preceded his name with Gen., Col.,
Gapt., Lieut., according to his rank.
The title Hon. (Honourable) is always used in
directing to a member of congress, a member of the
cabinet, a judge of the supreme court, an ambassador,
or the governor of a state. For the Chief Magistrate
of the Union, you may direct simply to the President
of the United States. The term "Excellency" is now
but little used.
For a gentleman holding a professorship in a uni-
versity, preface his name with Prof, or Professor.
The title of "Professor" does not really belong to all
raenVho teach any thing, or to every man that ex-
hibits a show — or to mesmerists, and spiritual knock-
ers. Do not give it to them.
For sealing letters no light is so convenient as a
wax taper in a low stand. A lamp, or candle, may
smoke or blacken the wax. To seal well, your wax
should be of the finest quality. Red wax of a bright
scarlet colour is the best. Low-priced wax consumes
very fast ; and when melted, looks purplish or brown-
ish. When going to melt sealing-wax, rest your elbow
on the table to keep your hand steady. Take the
stick of wax between your thumb and finger, and hold
it a little above the light, so that it barely touches the
L60 MIS LE i.M'' • BEB WTOUB BOOK.
point of the flame. Turn the stick round till it is
equally softened on all sides. Then insert a little of
the melted wax under the turn-over part of the letter,
just where the seal is to come. This will render it
more secure than if the sole dependence was on the
outside seal. Or instead of this little touch of wax,
you may slip beneath the turn-over a small wafer,
either white or of the same colour as the wax. Then
begin at the outer edge of the place you intend for
the seal; and move the wax in a circle, which must
gradually dimmish till it terminates in the centre.
Put the seal exactly to the middle of the soft wax,
and press it down hard, but do not screw it round.
Then withdraw it suddenly. Do not use motto seals
unless writing to a member of your own family, or to
an intimate friend. For common service, (and particu-
larly for letters of business,) a plain seal, with simply
your initials, is best.
For a note always use a very small seal. In ad-
dressing one of your own family, it is not necessary to
follow scrupulously all these observances. In writing
to persons decidedly your inferiors in station, avoid
the probability of mortifying them by sending mean,
Remember also (what, strange to say, some people
calling themselves ladies seem not to know) that a
note commenced in the first person must continue in
the first person all through. The same when it begins
in the third person. We have heard of invitations to
a party being worded thus : —
Mrs. Welford's compliments to Mrs. Marley, an<>
requests the pleasure of her company on Thursday
Notes of invitation should always designate both the
day of the week and that of the month. If that of
the month only is specified, one figure may perhaps be
mistaken for another; for instance, the 13th may look
like the 18th, or the 25th like the 26th. We know
instances where, from this cause, some Of the guests
did not come till the night after the party.
There are some very sensible people who, in their
invitations, tell frankly what is to be expected, and if
they really ask but a few friends, they at once give
the names of those friends, so that you may know
whom you are to see. If you are to meet no more
than can sit round the tea-table, they signify the
same. If they expect twenty, thirty, or forty persons,
they say so — and do not leave you in doubt whether
to dress for something very like a party, or for a mere
If it is a decided music-party, by all means specify
the same, that those who have no enjoyment of what
is considered fashionable music, may stay away.
Always reply to a note of invitation the day after
you have received it. To a note on business send an
answer the same day. After accepting an invitation,
should any thing occur to prevent your going, send a
second note in due time.
not take" offence al ;i friend because she
T .. invite you every time she has company. He
gard for you may be as warm as ever, but it is proba-
bly inconvenient for her to have more than a certain
number at a time. Believe that the omission is no
evidence of neglect, or of a desire to offend you; but
rest assured that you arc to be invited on other occa-
sions. If you are not, then indeed you may take it
as a hint that she is no longer desirous of continuing
the acquaintance. Be dignified enough not to call
her to account; but cease visiting her, without taking
her to task and bringing on a quarrel. But if you
must quarrel, let it not be in writing. A paper war
is always carried too far, and produces bitterness of
feeling which is seldom entirely eradicated, even after
apologies have been made and accepted. Still, when
an offence has been given in writing, the atonement
should be made in writing also.
Much time is wasted (particularly by young ladies)
in writing and answering such epistles as are termed
"letters of friendship," — meaning long documents
(frequently with crossed lines) filled with regrets at
absence, asseverations of eternal affection, modest
deprecations of your humble self, and enthusiastic
glorifyings of your exalted correspondent; or else
wonderments at both of you being so much alike, and
so very congenial; and anticipations of rapture at
meeting again, and lamentations at the slow progress
of time, till the extatic hour of re-union shall arrive —
the postscript usually containing some confidential
allusion to a lover, (either real or supposed,) and per-
haps a kind enquiry about a real or supposed lover of
Now such letters as these are of no manner of use
but to foster a sickly, morbid feeling, (very often a
fictitious one,) and to encourage nonsense, and destroy
all relish for such true friendship as is good and whole-
A still worse species of voluminous female corre-
spondence is that which turns entirely upon love, or
rather on what are called " beaux;" or entirely on
hate — for instance, hatred of step-mothers. This
topic is considered the more piquant from its impro-
priety, and from its being carried on in secret.
Then there are young ladies born with the organ
of letter-writing amazingly developed, and increased
by perpetual practice, who can scarcely become ac-
quainted with a gentleman possessing brains, without
volunteering a correspondence with him. And then
ensues a long epistolary dialogue about nothing, or at
least nothing worth reading or remembering; trench-
ing closely on gallantry, but still not quite that;
affected flippancy on the part of the lady; and un-
affected impertinence on that of the gentleman, "which
serves her right" — alternating with pretended pout-
ings on her side, and half or whole-laughing apologies
on his. Sometimes there are attempts at moralizing,
or criticising, or sentimentalizing — but nothing is ever
elicited that, to a third person, can afford the least
amusement or improvement, or excite the least interest.
Yet, strange to say, gentlemen have been inveigled
mro this sort of correspondence, even by ladies who
1 G4 Ml EHAVIOUK BOOK.
have made a business of afterward selling bhe l<
for publication, and making money out 6f them. And
such epistles have actually been printed. We do not
suppose they have been read. The public is very
stubborn in refusing to read what neither am
interests, or improves — even when a publisher is ac-
tually so weak as to print such things.
No young lady ever engages in a correspondence
with a gentleman that is neither her relative or her
betrothed, without eventually lessening herself in his
eyes. Of this she may rest assured. With some
men, it is even dangerous for- a lady to write a
note on the commonest subject. He may show the
superscription, or the signature, or both, to his idle
companions, and make insinuations much to her disad-
vantage, which his comrades will be sure to circulate
Above -all, let no lady correspond with a married
man, unless she is obliged to consult him on business;
and from that plain, straight path let her not diverge.
Even if the wife sees and reads every letter, she will,
in all probability, feel a touch of jealousy, (or more
than a touch,) if she finds that they excite interest in
her husband, or give him pleasure. This will inevita-
bly be the case if the married lady is inferior in
intellect to the single one, and has a lurking conscious-
ness that she is so.
Having hinted what the correspondence of young
ladies ought not to be, we will try to convey some idea
of what it ought. Let us premise that there is no
danger of any errors in grammar or spelling, and but
few faults of punctuation, and that the fair writers are
aware that a sentence should always conclude with a
period or full stop, to be followed by a capital letter
beginning the next sentence; and that a new para-
graph should be allotted to every change of subject,
provided that there is room on the sheet of paper.
And still, it is well to have always at hand a diction-
ary and a grammar, in case of unaccountable lapses
of memory. However, persons who have read much,
and read to advantage, generally find themselves at no
loss in orthography, grammar, and punctuation. To
spell badly is disgraceful in a lady or gentleman, and
it looks as if they had quitted reading as soon as they
•To write a legible and handsome hand is an accom-
plishment not sufficiently valued. And yet of what
importance it is ! We are always vexed when we hear
people of talent making a sort of boast of the illegi-
bility of their writing, and relating anecdotes of the
difficulty with which it has been read, and the mistakes
made by its decipherers. There are persons who
affect bad writing, and boast of it, because the
worst signatures extant are those of Shakspeare,
Bonaparte, and Byron. These men were great in
spite of their autographs, not because of them. The
caliph Haroun Alraschid, who was well imbued with
Arabic learning, sent an elegantly written letter to
Charlemagne, with a splendid cover and seals; not
being aware that the European emperor's signature
was made by dipping his thumb into the ink and
giving a smear — sealing with the hilt of his dagger.
166 3 BEfl IVI01 R J- K.
The "wording" of your letter should be aa much
like conversation as possible, containing (in a con-
densed form) just what you would be most likely to
talk about if you saw your friend. A letter is of no
use unless it conveys some information, excites some
interest, or affords some improvement. It may be
handsomely written, correct in spelling, punctuation,
and grammar, and yet stiff and formal in style —
affectedly didactic, and therefore tiresome — or mawk-
ishly sentimental, and therefore foolish. It may be
refined, or high-flown in words, but flat and barren in
ideas, containing nothing that a correspondent cares
Read over each page of your letter, as you finish it,
to see that there are no errors. If you find any,
correct them carefully. In writing a familiar letter,
a very common fault is tautology, or a too frequent
repetition of the same word — for instance, "Yesterday
I received a letter from sister Mary, which was the
first letter I have received from sister since she left."
The sentence should be, "Yesterday I received a
letter from my sister Mary, the first since she left us."
Unless you are writing to one of your own family,
put always the pronoun "my" before the word
" sister." Say also — " my father," " my mother," and
not "father," "mother," as if they were also the
parents of your correspondent.
To end the sentence with the word "left," (for de-
parted,) is awkward and unsatisfactory — for instance,
"It is two days since he left." Left what? It ia
one of the absurd innovations that have crept in
among us of late years, and are supposed to be
fashionable. Another is the ridiculous way of omit-
ting the possessive S in words ending with that letter ;
for instance, "Sims' Hotel" instead of "Sims's Hotel"
— "Jenkins' Bakery" for "Jenkins's Bakery." Would
any one, in talking, say they had stayed at Sims' Hotel,
or that they bought their bread at Jenkins' Bakery.
This is ungrammatical, as it obliterates the possessive
case, and is therefore indefinite; and moreover, it
looks and sounds awkwardly.
Many persons who think themselves good gram-
marians put on their cards "The Misses Brown," —
"The Misses Smith." Those who really are so, write
"The Miss Browns"— "The Miss Smiths"— the plural
being always on the substantive, and never on ' the
adjective. Would we say "the whites glove" instead
of "the white gloves" — or the "blues ribbon" for the
"blue ribbons." Does any lady in talking say, "The
two Misses Brown called to see me?"
It is also wrong to say "two spoonsful," instead of
two spoonfuls. I'hus, "two spoonsfulof milk" seems
to imply two separate spoons with milk in each ; while
" two spoonfuls of milk" gives the true idea^-one
spoon twice filled.
Avoid in writing, as in talking, all words that do
not express the true»meaning. We are sorry to say
that sometimes even among educated people, when
attempting smartness or wit, we find a sort of con-
ventional slang that has, in truth, a strong tinge of
vulgarity, being the wilful substitution of bad words
or bad phrases for good ones. When we find them
ICjS miss Leslie's behaviour book.
issuing from the lips or the pen of a lady, we fear she
is unfortunate in a reprobate husband, or brother,
from whom she must have learnt them. Yet even
reprobates dislike to hear their wives and sisters talk-
Unless you know that your correspondent is well
versed in French, refrain from interlarding your letters
with Gallic words or phrases.
Do not introduce long quotations from poetry.
Three or four lines of verse are sufficient. One line,
or two, are better still. Write them rather smaller
than your usual hand, and leave a space at the begin-
ning and end; marking their commencement and
termination with inverted commas, thus " ".
One of our young relatives when seven or eight
years old, tried her hand at story-writing. In finish-
ing the history of a naughty girl, much addicted to
falsehood, the terminating sentence ran thus : —
"Arabella did not cure herself of this fault; but
when she grew up, and became an authoress, she never
marked her quotations."
If your letter is longer than ean be comprised in
one sheet, number the pages, placing the number near
the upper corner. If engaged in a regular correspond-
ence on business or o^her things, or in writing from a
foreign country to your family at home, number not
only the pages, but the letter itself, putting that figure
in the centre at the top of the first page. Thus, if
your friend, having received No. 10, finds the next
letter that comes to hand is No. 12, she will know
that No. 11 is missing, and will tell you so in her
reply. Keep a memorandum of the letters you have
sent, that you may know how to number the next.
Before commencing a long letter, it is well to put
down on a slip of paper, a list of the subjects you
intend to write on.
Unless to persons living in the same house, do not
inclose one letter in another. And even then, it is
not always safe to do so. Let each letter be trans-
mitted on its own account, by mail, with its own full
direction, and its own pbst-office stamp. We know ai
instance where the peace of a family was entirely
ruined by one of its members suppressing enclosed
letters. Confide to no one the delivery of an important
letter intended for another person. It is better to
trust to the mail, and send a duplicate by the next
To break the seal of a letter directed to another
person is punishable by law. To read secretly the
letter of another is morally as felonious. A woman
who would act thus meanly is worse than those who
apply their eyes or ears to key-holes, or door-cracks,
or who listen under windows, or look down from attics
upon their neighbours; or who, in a dusky parlour,
before the lamps are lighted, ensconce themselves in a
corner, and give no note of their presence while listen-
ing to a conversation not intended for them to hear.
We do not conceive that, unless he, authorizes her
to do so, (which he had best not,) a wife is justifiable
in opening her husband's letters, or he in reading hers.
Neither wife nor husband has any right to entrust to
the other the secrets of their friends ; and letters mav
170 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
contain such secrets. Unless under extraordinary
circumstances, parents should not consider themselves
privileged to inspect the correspondence of grown-up
children. Brothers and sisters always take care that
their epistles shall not be unceremoniously opened by
each other. In short, a letter is the property of the
person to whom it is addressed, and nobody has a
right to read it without permission.
If you are shown an autograph signature at the
bottom of a letter, be satisfied to look at that only ;
and do not open out, and read the whole — unless de-
Some years ago, in one of our most popular maga-
zines, were several pages containing fac-simile signa-
tures of a number of distinguished literary women —
P chiefly English. We saw an original letter, from a
lady, who complained that some mischievous person
had taken her magazine out of the post-office before it
reached her, and shamefully scribbled ivomens names
in it, disfiguring it so as to render it unfit for binding ;
therefore she desired the publisher to send her a clean
copy in place of*.
In putting up packets to send away, either tie them
round and across, with red tape, (sealing them also
where the tape Glasses,) or seal them without any
tape. If the paper is strong, the wax good, and the
contents of the parcel not too heavy, sealing will in
most cases be sufficient. Twine or cord may cut the
paper, and therefore is best omitted. Never put up a
parcel in newspaper. It looks mean and disrespectful,
and will soil the arflclcs inside.
Keep yourself provided with different sorts and
sizes of wrapping-paper.
A large packet requires more than one seal; the
seals rather larger than for a letter.
Put up newspapers, for transmission, in thin wnitish
or brownish paper, pasting the cover, and leaving one
end open. Newspaper-stamps cost but one cent, and
are indispensable to the transmission of the paper.
Avoid giving letters of introduction to people whose
acquaintance cannot possibly afford any pleasure or
advantage to those whose civilities are desired for
them, or who have not leisure to attend to strangers.
Artists, authors, and all other persons to whom "time
is money," and whose income stops whenever their
hands and eyes are unemployed, are peculiarly an-
noyed by the frequency of introductory letters, brought^
by people with whom they can feel no congeniality,
• and whom they never would have sought for. Among
the children of genius, but fe"^re in a situation to
entertain strangers handsomely, a3 it is called, which
means, expensively. N Many are kept always in strait-
ened circumstances, from the incessant demands on
their time and attention. And in numerous instances,
letters are asked and given with no better motive than
the gratification of idle curiosity.
We advise all persons obtaining an introductory
letter to a painter, to ascertain, before presenting it,
what branch of the art he professes. We have been
asked whether a certain artist (one of the most dis-
tinguished in London) painted "figures, flowers, or
landscapes.'' Also, no one should presume to request
172 miss Leslie's behaviour look.
an introduction to an authoress, if they are ignorant
whether she writes prose or verse. Not that they are
expected to talk to her, immediately, on literary sub-
jects. Far from it; but if they know nothing of her
works, they deserve no letter. In America, books, or
at least newspapers, are accessible to all who can read.
Bores are peculiarly addicted to asking letters of
introduction, in accordance with their system of "be-
stowing their tediousness" upon as many people as
possible. "We pity the kind friends from whom these
missives are required, and who have not courage to
refuse, or address enough to excuse themselves plausi-
bly from complying.
ATe have known instances of stupid, vulgar persons,
on preparing to visit another city, obtaining letters to
families of the really highest class, and receiving from
them the usual civilities, which they knew not how to
On the other hand, how pleasant it is, by means of
an introductory letter, to bring together two kindred
spirits, whose personal intercourse must inevitably
produce mutual satisfaction, who are glad to know
each other, glad to meet frequently, and grateful to
the friend who has made them acquainted.
Letters of introduction should not be sealed. To
do so is rude, and meam If you wish' to write on the
same day to the same person, take another sheet,
write as long an epistle as you please, seal it, and
send it by mail.
It is best to deliver an introductory letter in per-
son, as the lady or gentleman whose civilities have*.
LETTERS. „ 173
been requested in your behalf, may thus be spared the
trouble of calling at your lodgings, with the risk of
not finding you at home. This is very likely to
happen, if you send instead of taking it yourself. If
you do send it, enclose a card with your residence.
Also, it is more respectful to go yourself, than to
expect them to come to you.
As soon as you are shown into the parlour, send up
the letter, and wait till the receiver comes to you.
When a letter is brought to you by a private hand,
the usual ceremony is to defer reading it till the
bringer has departed, unless he desires you to read it
at once, which he will, if it is evidently a short letter.
If a long one, request him to excuse you a moment
while you look at the beginning, to see if your corre-~
Bpondent is well.
On farewell cards, it is usual to write with a pencil
the letters " t. t. 1.," "to take leave" — or "p. p. c,"
" pour prendre conge." A lady complained to us
that an acquaintance of hers, about to leave town, had
left a card for her with " p. d. a." upon it. Not under-
standing the meaning of these letters, she had applied
to a friend for explanation, who told her they meant
"poor dear adieu." "Now," continued she — "I can-
not understand why a mere acquaintance should be so
familiar as to call me ' poor dear ;' why am I a poor
dear to her?" We relieved her by explaining that
"pour dire adieu" was French for "to bid adieu."
To conclude — let nothing induce you to give a letter
of introduction to any person whose moral character ig
174 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
Having accepted a present, it is your duty, and
ought to be your pleasure, to let the giver see that you
make use of it as intended, and that it is not thrown
away upon you. If it is an article of dress, or of
personal decoration, take occasion, on the first suitable
opportunity, to wear it in presence of the giver. If
an ornament for the centre-table, or the mantel-piece,
place it there. If a book, do not delay reading it.
Afterward, speak of it to her as favourably as you
can. If of fruit or flowers, refer to them the next
time you see her.
In all cases, when a gift is sent to you, return a note
of thanks ; or at least a verbal message to that effect.
Never enquire of the giver what was the price of
her gift, or where she bought it. To do so is con-
sidered exceedingly rude.
When an article is presented to you for a specified
purpose, it is your duty to use it for that purpose, and
for no other, according to the wish of the donor. It
is mean and dishonourable to give away a present ; at
least without first obtaining permission from the ori-
ginal giver. You have no right to be liberal or gene-
rous at the expense of another, or to accept a gift with
a secret determination to bestow it yourself on some-
body else. If it is an article that you do not want,
that you possess already, or that you cannot use for
yourself, it is best to say so candidly, at once; ex-
pressing your thanks for the offer, and requesting
your friend to keep it for some other person to whom
it will be advantageous. It is fit that the purchaser
of the gift should have the pleasure of doing a kind-
ness with her own hand, and eliciting the gratitude of
one whom she knows herself. It is paltry in you to
deprive her of this pleasure, by first accepting a present,
and then secretly giving it away as from yourself.
There are instances of women whose circumstances
did not allow them to indulge often in delicacies, that
on a present of early fruit, or some other nice thing
being sent to them by a kind friend, have ostenta-
tiously transferred the gift to a wealthy neighbour,
with a view of having it supposed that they had
bought it themselves, and that to them such things
were no rarities. This is contemptible — but it is some-
Making a valuable present to a rich person is in
most cases, a work of supererogation ; unless the gift
is of something rare or unique, which cannot be pur-
chased, and which may be seen and used to more
advantage at the house of your friend than while in
your own possession. But to give an expensive article
of dress, jewellery, or furniture to one whose means
of buying such things are quite equal (if not superior)
to your own, is an absurdity; though not a very
uncommon one, as society is now constituted. Such
170 MISS "K.
gifts elicit do real gratitude, for in all probability,
they may not suit the pampered taste of tlio.se to
whom fine things are no novelties. Or they may be
regarded (however unjustly) as baits or nets to catch,
in return, something of still greater cost.
There are persons, who, believing that presents are
generally made with some mercenary view, and being
unwilling themselves to receive favours, or incur obliga-
tions, make a point of repaying them as soon as possi-
ble, by a gift of something equivalent. This at once
implies that they suspect the motive. If sincere in
her friendship, the donor of the first present will feel
hurt at being directly paid for it, and consider that
she has been treated rudely, and unjustly. On the
other hand, if compensation was secretly desired, and
really expected, she will be disappointed at receiving
nothing in return. Therefore, we repeat, that among
persons who can conveniently provide themselves with
whatever they may desire, the bestowal of presents is
generally a most unthankful business. If you are in
opulent circumstances, it is best to limit your gene-
rosity to such friends only as do not abouifd in the
gifts of fortune, and whose situation denies them the
means of indulging their tastes. By them such acts
of kindness will be duly appreciated, and gratefully
remembered; and the article presented will have a
double value, if it is to them a novelty.
Gratitude is a very pleasant sensation, both for those
who feel and to those who excite it. No one who
confers a favour can say with truth, that "they want
no thanks." They always do.
We know not why, when a young lady of fortune is
going to be married, her friends should all be expected
to present her with bridal gifts. It is a custom that
sometimes bears heavily on those whose condition
allows them but little to spare. And from that little
it may be very hard for them to squeeze out enough
to purchase some superfluous ornament, or some bauble
for a centre-table, when it is already glittering with
the gifts of the opulent ; — gifts lavished on one who is
really in no need of such things ; and whose marriage
confers no benefit on any one but herself. Why should
she be rewarded for gratifying her own inclination in
marrying the man of her choice? Now that it is
fashionable to display all the wedding-gifts arranged
in due form on tables, and labelled with the names of
the donors, the seeming necessity of giving something
expensive, or at least elegant, has becom* more onerous
than ever. For instance, poor Miss Cassin can barely
afford a simple brooch that costs about five dollars;
but she strains the utmost capacity of her slender purse
to buy one at ten dollars, that it may not disgrace the
brilliant assemblage of jewellery that glitters on the
bridal table of her wealthy friend Miss Denham. And
after all, she finds that her modest little trinket looks
really contemptible beside the diamond pin given by
Mrs. Farley the millionaire. After all, she sees
no one notice it, and hears no one say that it is even
neat and pretty. To be sure, the bride, when it was
sent with a note on the preceding day, did vouchsafe
a polite answer. But then, if poor Miss C. does not
make a wedding present to rich Miss D., it might be
supposed that Miss C. cannot afford it. Neither she
can. And her making the effort elicits perhaps some
satirical remarks, that would be very mortifying to
Miss Cassin if she heard them.
We repeat, that we cannot exactly perceive why,
when the union of a couple of lovers, in many cases,
adds to the happiness, honour, and glory of the married
pair alone, their friends should think it a duty to levy
on themselves these contributions; so often inconve-
nient to the givers, and not much cared for by the
When the young couple are not abounding in what
are called "the goods of this world," the case is
altered; and it may then be an act of real kindness
for the opulent friends of the bride to present her
with any handsome article of dress, or of furniture,
that they think will be acceptable. What we contend
is, that on a marriage in a wealthy family, the making
of presents should be confined to the immediate rela-
tives of the lady, and only to such of them as can well
Much of the money wasted in making ostentatious
gifts to brides whose fathers have already given them
a splendid outfit, might be far better employed, in
assisting to purchase the trousseaus and the furniture
of deserving young women in humble life, on their
marriage with respectable tradesmen or mechanics.
How many ladies of fortune have it in their power to
do this — yet how seldom it is done !
At christenings, it is fortunately the sponsors only
that are expected to make gifts to the infant. There-
fore, invite no persons as sponsors, who cannot well
afford this expense; unless you are sufficiently inti-
mate to request them, privately, not to comply with
the custom; being unwilling that they should cause
themselves inconvenience by doing so.
The presentation of Christmas and New-Year's gifts
is often a severe tax on persons with whom money is
not plenty. It would be well if it were the universal
custom to expect and receive no presents from any but
In making gifts to children, choose for them only
such things as will afford them somewhat of lasting
amusement. For boys, kites, tops, balls, marbles,
wheelbarrows, carts, gardening utensils, and car-
penter's tools, &c. Showy toys, that are merely to
look at, and from which they can derive no enjoyment
but in breaking them to pieces, are not worth buying.
Little girls delight in little tea-sets, and dinner-sets,
in which they can "make feasts," miniature kitchen-
utensils, to play at cooking, washing, &c. ; and dolls so
dressed that all the clothes can be taken off and put
on at pleasure. They soon grow tired of a doll whose
glittering habiliments are sewed fast upon her. A
wax doll in elegant attire is too precarious and expen-
sive a plaything to make them happy; as they are
always afraid of injuring her. We knew a little girl
for whom a magnificent wax doll, splendidly dressed,
was brought from France ; and for an hour she was
highly delighted. But next morning she was found
still more happy in carrying about her favourite baby,
a sofa-pillow, with an old shawl pinned round it for a
ISO VTOUR BOOK.
frock; feeling perfect freedom to toss it about as slio
pleased. Children like their doll-babies to be very
substantial, and rather heavy than light. A large, well-
made rag-doll is for a small child far better than any
other — occasionally putting a clean new face upon it.
We have seen country children perfectly satisfied
with a doll that was nothing but a hard ear of Indian
corn, arrayed in a coarse towel pinned round it. A
little farm-house boy, of three years old, made a pet
of a large squash, which he dressed in a pocket-hand-
kerchief, and called Phebe Ann. We heard him say,
as he passed his hand over its lumpy neck, "Poor
Phebe Ann! what hives she has!"
To an intelligent child, no gifts are so valuable as
entertaining books — provided they really are enter-
taining. Children are generally wise enough to prefer
an amusing book in a plain cover, to a dull one shining
with gold. When children are able to read fluently,
they lose much of their desire for mere picture-books.
If the cuts are badly executed, and give ugly, disa-
greeable ideas of the characters in the stories, they
only trouble and annoy the little readers, instead of
pleasing them. ' Some of the most popular juvenile
books have no pictures inside, and no gilding outside.
Bad engravings, (beside uselessly enhancing the price,)
spoil the taste of the children. We highly recom-
mend to the publishers of juvenile books to omit the
cuts entirely, if they cannot afford very good ones.
Many children have better judgment in these things
than their parents suppose ; and some of them more
than the parents themselves.
Children have less enjoyment than is supposed in
being taken to shops to choose gifts for themselves, or
even in laying out their own money. It is always a
long time before they can decide on what to buy, and
as soon as they have fixed upon one thing, they imme-
diately see something they like better. And often,
after getting home, they are dissatisfied with their
choice, and sorry they bought it. Also, they fre-
quently wear out the patience of the shopkeepers;
being desirous of seeing every thing, and pondering
so long before they can determine on buying any
It is every way better to go to the shops without
them, buy what you think proper, and then give them
an agreeable surprise by the presentation.
Young ladies should be careful how they accept
presents from gentlemen. No truly modest and
dignified woman will incur such obligations. And
no gentleman who really respects her will offer her
any thing more than a bouquet, a book, one or two
autographs of distinguished persons, or a few relics or
mementos of memorable places — things that derive
their chief value from associations. But to present a
young lady with articles of jewellery, or of dress, or
with a costly ornament for the centre-table, (unless
she is his affianced wife,) ought to be regarded as an
offence, rather than a compliment, excusable only in
a man sadly ignorant of the refinements of society.
And if he is so, she should set him right, and civilly,
but firmly, refuse to be his debtor.
Yet, we are sorry to say, that there are ladies so
182 miss Leslies behavioub book.
rapacious, and so mean, that they are not ashamed to
give broad hints to gentlemen, (particularly those
gentlemen who are either very young or very old,)
regarding certain beautiful card-cases, bracelets, es-
sence-bottles, &c. which they have seen and admired, —
tven going so far as to fall in love with elegant shawls,
scarfs, splendid fans, and embroidered handkerchiefs.
And their admiration is so violent, and so reiterated,
that the gentleman knows not how to resist; he
therefore puts them in possession of a gift far too
costly for any woman of delicacy to accept. In such
cases, the father or mother of the young lady should
oblige her to return the present. This has been done.
There are ladies who keep themselves supplied with
certain articles of finery, (for instance, white kid
gloves,) by laying ridiculous wagers with gentlemen,
knowing that, whether winning or losing, the gentle-
man, out of gallantry, always pays. No lady should
ever lay wagers, even with one of her own sex. It is
foolish and unfeminine — and no man likes her any
the better for indulging in the practice.
Some young ladies, who profess a sort of daughterly
regard for certain wealthy old gentlemen, are so kind
as to knit purses or work slippers for them, or some
other nick-nacks, (provided always that the "dear old
man" has a character for generosity,) for they know
that he will reward them by a handsome present of
some bijou of real value. And yet they may be
assured that the kind old gentleman (whom "they
mind no more than if he was their pa") sees through
the whole plan, knows why the purse was knit, or
the slippers worked, and esteems the kind young lady
Another, and highly reprehensible way of extorting
a gift, is to have what is called a philopena with a
gentleman. This very silly joke is when a young
lady, in cracking almonds, chances to find two kernels
in one shell ; she shares them with a beau ; which ever
first calls out "philopena," on their next meeting, is
entitled to receive a present from the other ; and she is
to remind him of it till he remembers to comply. So
much nonsense is often talked on the occasion, that it
seems to expand into something of importance ; and
the gentleman thinks he can do no less, than purchase
for the lady something very elegant, or valuable;
particularly if he has heard her tell of the munificence
of other beaux in their philopenas.
There is great want of delicacy and self-respect in
philopenaism, and no lady who has a proper sense of
her dignity as a lady will engage in any thing of the sort.
In presenting a dress to a friend whose circum-
stances are not so affluent as your own, and who you
know will gladly receive it, select one of excellent
quality, and of a colour that you think she will like.
She will feel mortified, if you give her one that is low-
priced, flimsy, and of an unbecoming tint. Get an
ample quantity, so as to allow a piece to be cut off
and laid by for a new body and sleeves, when neces-
sary. And to make the gift complete, buy linen for
the body-lining ; stiff, glazed muslin for the facings ;
buttons, sewing-silk, and whatever else may be wanted.
This will save her the cost of these things.
184 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
When you give a dress to a poor woman, it is far
better to buy for her a substantial new one, than u
bestow on her an old thin gown of your own. The
poor have little leisure to sew for themselves; and
second-hand fine clothes last them but a very short
time before they are fit only for the rag-bag.
If you are going to have a party, and among your
very intimate friends is one whose circumstances will
not permit her to incur the expense of buying a hand-
some new dress for the occasion, and if she has no
choice but to stay away, or to appear in a costume very
inferior to that of the other ladies, you may (if you
can well afford it) obviate this difficulty by presenting
her with a proper dress-pattern, and other accessories.
This may be managed anonymously, but it will be
better to do it with her knowledge. It will be a very
gratifying mark of your friendship; and she ought to
consider it as such, and not refuse it from a feeling of
false pride. Of course, it will be kept a secret from
all but yourselves. In the overflow of gratitude she
may speak of it to others, but for you to mention "it
would be ungenerous and indelicate in the extreme.
We are glad to say that ladies of fortune often make
gifts of party-dresses to their less-favoured friends.
In sending a present, always pay in advance the
expense of transmitting it, so that it may cost nothing
at all to the receiver. You may send by the Mail a
package of any size, weighing not more than four
pounds, paying the postage yourself at the office from
whence it goes. It will then be delivered at the
door of your friend, without further charg^
Conversation is the verbal interchange of thoughts
and feelings, To form a perfect conversationist, many
qualifications are requisite. There must be knowledge
of the world, knowledge of books, and a facility of
imparting that knowledge ; together with originality,
memory, an intuitive perception of what is best to say,
and best to omit, good taste, good temper, and good
manners. An agreeable and instructive talker has
the faculty of going "from gay to grave, from lively
to serene," without any apparent effort; neither skim-
ming so slightly over a variety of topics as to leave
no impression of any, or dwelling so long upon one
subject as to weary the attention of the hearers.
Persons labouring under a monomania, such as ab-
sorbs their whole mind into one prevailing idea, are
never pleasant or impressive talkers. They defeat
their own purpose by recurring to it perpetually, and
rendering it a perpetual fatigue. A good talker
should cultivate a temperance in talking; so as not to
talk too much, to the exclusion of other good talkers.
Conversation is dialogue, not monologue. It was said
of Madame de Stael that she did not converse, but
180 MISS LESLIE" S BEHAVIOUR LOOK.
To be a perfect conversationist, a good voice is
indispensable — a voice that is clear, distinct, ami
silver-toned. If you find that you have a habit of
speaking too low, "reform it altogether." It is a
bad one ; and will render your talk unintelligible.
Few things are more delightful than for one intelli-
gent and well-stored mind to find itself in company
with a kindred spirit— each understanding the other,
catching every idea, and comprehending every allu-
sion. Such persons will become as intimate in half
an hour, as if they had been personally acquainted for
On the other hand, the pleasure of society is much
lessened by the habit in which many persons indulge,
of placing themselves always in the opposition, con-
troverting every opinion, and doubting every fact.
They talk to you as a lawyer examines a witness at
the bar ; trying to catch you in some discrepancy that
will invalidate your testimony; fixing their scruti-
nizing eyes upon your face "as if they would look you
through," and scarcely permitting you to say, "It is
a fine day," without making you prove your words.
Such people are never popular. Nobody likes per-
petual contradiction, especially when the subject of
argument is of little or no consequence. In young
people this dogmatic practice is generally based upon
vanity and impertinence. In the old it is prompted
by pride and selfishness. We doubt if in the present
day the talk and manners of Johnson would have
been tolerated in really good society.
Unless he first refers to it himself, never talk to a
gentleman concerning his profession ; at least do not
question him about it. For instance, you must not
expect a physician to tell you how his patients are
affected, or to confide to you any particulars of their
maladies. These are subjects that he will discuss
only with their relatives, or their nurses. It is also
very improper to ask a lawyer about his clients, or
the cases in which he is employed. A clergyman
does not like always to be talking about the church.
A merchant, when away from his counting-house, has
no wish to engage in business-talk with ladies ; and a
mechanic is ever willing "to leave the shop behind
him." Every American is to be supposed capable of
conversing on miscellaneous subjects ; and he considers
it no compliment to be treated as if he knew nothing
but what the Scotch call his " bread-winner. " Still,
there are some few individuals who like to talk of
their bread-winner. If you perceive this disposition,
indulge them, and listen attentively. You will learn
something useful, and worth remembering.
Women who have begun the world in humble life,
and have been necessitated to give most of their atten-
tion to household affairs, are generally very shy in
talking of housewifery, after their husbands have
become rich, and are living in style, as it is called.
Therefore, do not annoy them by questions on domes-
tic economy. But converse as if they had beeji ladies
Lord Erskine, having lived a bachelor to an ad-
vanced age, finally married his cook, by way of se-
curing her services, as she had frequently threatened
18»' miss Leslie's behaviour book.
to leave him. After she became Lady Erskine she
lost all knowledge of cookery, and it was a mortal
affront to hint the possibility of her knowing how any
sort of eatable should be prepared for the table.
Never remind any one of the time when their situa-
tion was less genteel, or less affluent than at present,
or tell them that you remember their living in a small
house, or in a remote street. If they have not moral
courage to talk of such things themselves, it is rude in
you to make any allusion to them.
On the other hand, if invited to a fashionable house,
and to meet fashionable company, it is not the time or
place for you to set forth the comparative obscurity
of your own origin, by way of showing that you are
not proud. If you are not proud, it is most likely
that your entertainers may be, and they will not be
pleased at your ultra-magnanimity in thus lowering
yourself before their aristocratic guests. These com-
munications should be reserved for tete-d-tetes with
old or familiar friends, who have no more pride than
When listening to a circumstance that is stated to
have actually occurred to the relater, even if it strikes
you as being very extraordinary, and not in conformity
to your own experience, it is rude to reply, "Such a
thing never happened to me." It is rude because it
seems to imply a doubt of the narrator's veracity; and
it is foolish, because its not having happened to you
is no proof that it could not have happened to any
body else. Slowness in belief is sometimes an evidence
of ignorance, rather than of knowledge. People who
have read but little, travelled but little, and seen but
little of the world out of their own immediate circle,
and whose intellect is too obtuse to desire any new
accession to their own small stock of ideas, are apt to
think that nothing can be true unless it has fallen
under their own limited experience. Also, they may
be so circumstanced that nothing in the least out of
the common way is likely to disturb the still water of
their pond-like existence.
A certain English nobleman always listens incredu-
lously when he hears any person descanting on the
inconveniences of travelling on the continent, and
relating instances of bad accommodations and bad
fare ; uncomfortable vehicles, and uncomfortable inns ;
the short beds and narrow sheets of Germany; the
slow and lumbering diligence-riding of France; the
garlicky stews of Spain with a feline foundation; the
little vine-twig fires in the chilly winters of Northern
Italy ; and various other ills which the flesh of travel-
lers is heir to; — the duke always saying, "Now really
I never experienced any of these discomforts, much
as I have traversed the continent. None of these
inconveniences ever come in my way." And how
should they, when, being a man of enormous wealth, he
always travels with a cavalcade of carriages; a reti-
nue of servants ; a wagon-load of bedding and other
furniture ; a cook, with cooking-utensils, and Jots of
luxurious eatables to be cooked at stopping-places — ■
his bod y-coach (as it is called) being a horse-drawn
palace. What inconveniences can possibly happen to
190 miss Leslie's behaviour look.
When you hear a gentleman speak in praise of a
lady whom you do not think deserving of his com-
mendations, you will gain nothing by attempting to
undeceive him; particularly if she is handsome. Your
dissenting from his opinion he will, in all probability,
impute to envy, or ill-nature ; and therefore the only
impression you can make will be against yourself.
Even if you have reason to dislike the lady, recollect
that few are without some good points both of person
and character. And it will be much better for you to
pass over her faults in silence, and agree with him in
commending what is really commendable about her.
What he would, perhaps, believe implicitly if told to
him by a man, he would attribute entirely to jealousy,
or to a love of detraction if related by a woman.
Above all, if a gentleman descants on the beauty of a
lady, and in your own mind you do not coincide with
his opinion, refrain, on your part, from criticizing
invidiously her face and figure, and do not say that
" though her complexion may be fine, her features are
not regular;" that "her nose is too small," or "her
eyes too large," or "her mouth too wide." Still less
disclose -to him the secret of her wearing false hair,
artificial teeth, or tinging her cheeks with rouge. If
she is a bold, forward woman, he will find that out as
soon as yourself, and sooner too, — and you may be
sure that though he may amuse himself by talking and
flirting with her, he in reality regards her as she de-
If a foreigner chances, in your presence, to make
an unfavourable remark upon some custom or habit
peculiar to your country, do not immediately take fire
and resent it ; for, perhaps, upon reflection, you may
find that he is right, or nearly so. All countries have
their national character, and no character is perfect,
whether that of a nation or an individual. If you
know that the stranger has imbibed an erroneous
impression, you may calmly, and in a few words, en-
deavour to convince him of it. But if he shows an
unwillingness to be convinced, and tells you that what
he has said he heard from good authority; or that,
before he came to America, "his mind was made up,"
it will be worse than useless for you to continue the
argument. Therefore change the subject, or turn and
address your conversation to some one else.
Lady Morgan's Duchess of Belmont very properly
checks O'Donnell for his ultra-nationality, and advises
him not to be always running a tilt with every Eng-
lishman he talks to, continually seeming as if ready
with the war-cry of "St. Patrick for. Ireland, against
St. George for England."
Dr. Johnson was speaking of Scotland with his usual
seventy, when a Caledonian who was present, started
up, and called out, "Sir, I was born in Scotland."
"Very well, sir," said the cynic calmly, "I do not see
why so small a circumstance should make any change
in the national character."
English strangers complain (and with reason) of
the American practice of imposing on their credulity,
by giving them false and exaggerated accounts of
certain things peculiar to this country, and telling
them, as truths, stories that are absolute impossibilities ;
192 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
the amusement being to see how the John Bulls
swallow these absurdities. Even General Washington
diverted himself by mystifying Weld the English
traveller, who complained to him at Mount Vernon of
musquitoes so large and fierce that they bit through
• his cloth coat. "Those are nothing," said Washing-
ton, "to musquitoes I have met with, that bite through
a thick leather boot." Weld expressed his astonish-
ment, (as well he might;) and, when he "put out a
book," inserted the story of the boot-piercing insects,
which he said must be true, as he had it from no less
a person than General Washington.
It is a work of supererogation to furnish falsehoods
for British travellers. They can manufacture them
fast enough. Also, it is ungenerous thus to sport
with their ignorance, and betray them into ridiculous
caricatures, which they present to the English world
in good faith. We hope these tricks are not played
upon any of the best class of European travel-writers.
When in Europe, (in England particularly,) be not
over sensitive as to remarks that may be made on
your own country; and do not expect every one
around you to keep perpetually in mind that you are
an American; nor require that they should guard
every word, and keep a constant check on their
conversation, lest they should chance to offend your
republican feelings. The English, as they become
better acquainted with America, regard us with more
favour, and are fast getting rid of their old prejudices,
and opening their eyes as to the advantages to be
derived from cultivating our friendship instead of
provoking our enmity. They have, at last, all learn*
that our language is theirs, and they no longer com-
pliment newly-arrived Americans on speaking English
"quite well." It is not many years since two young
ladies from one of our Western States, being at a party
at a very fashionable mansion in London, were re-
quested by the lady of the house to talk a little
American; several of her guests being desirous of
hearing a specimen of that language. One of the
young ladies mischievously giving a hint to the other,
they commenced a conversation in what school-girls
call gibberish; and the listeners, when they had
finished, gave various opinions on the American
tongue, some pronouncing it very soft, and rather
musical; others could not help saying candidly that
they found it rather harsh. But all agreed that it
resembled no language they had heard before.
There is no doubt that by the masses, better Eng-
lish is spoken in America than in England.
However an Englishman or an Englishwoman may
boast of their intimacy with "the nobility and gentry,"
there is one infalliable rule by which the falsehood of
these pretensions may be detected. And that is in
the misuse of the letter H, putting it where it should
not be, and omitting it where it should. This unac-
countable practice prevails, more or less, in all parts
of England, but is unknown in Scotland and Ireland.
It is never found but among the middle and lower
classes, and by polished and well-educated people is
as much laughed at in England as it is with us. A
relative of ours being in a stationer's shop in St. Paul's
I'.M MISS LESLIE'* BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
fThurch Yard, (the street surrounding the cathedral,)
heard the stationer call his boy, and tell him to "go
and take the babbj out, and give him a hairing — the
babby having had no hair for a week." We have
heard an Englishman talk of "taking an ouse that
should have an ot water pipe, and a hoven" The
same man asked a young lady "if she had eels on her
boots." We heard an Englishwoman tell a servant
to "bring the arth brush, and sweep up the hashes"
Another assured us that "the American ladies were
quite hignorant of ketiquette."
We have actually seen a ridiculous bill sent seriously
by a Yorkshireman who kept a livery-stable in Phila-
delphia. The items were, verbatim —
anosafada 2 50
No reader can possibly guess this — so we will ex-
plain that the first line, in which all the words run
into one, signifies "An orse af a day," — or "A horse
half a day." The second line means "takin on im
ome," — or "Taking of him home."
English travellers are justly severe on the tobacco-
chewing and spitting, that though exploded in the
best society, is still too prevalent among the million.
All American ladies can speak feelingly on this sub-
ject, for they suffer from it in various ways. First,
the sickening disgust without which they cannot wit-
ness the act of expectoration performed before their
faces. .Next, the danger of tobacco-saliva falling on
their dresses in the street, or while travelling in
steamers and rail-cars. Then the necessity of walk-
ing through the abomination when leaving those con-
veyances ; treading in it with their shoes ; and wiping
it up with the hems of their gowns. We know an
instance of the crown of a lady's white-silk bonnet
being bespattered with tobacco-juice, by a man spit-
ting out of a window in one of the New York hotels.
A lady on the second seat of a box at the Chestnut-
street theatre, found, when she went home, the back
of her pelisse entirely spoilt, by some man behind not
having succeeded in trying to spit past her — or per-
g haps he did not try. Why should ladies endure all
this, that men may indulge in a vulgar and deleterious
practice, pernicious to their own health, and which
they cannot acquire without going through a seasoning
of* disgust and nausea?
It is very unmannerly when a person begins to
relate a circumstance or an anecdote, to stop them
short by saying, " I have heard it before." Still
worse, to say you do not wish to hear it at all. There
are people who set themselves against listening to any
thing that can possibly excite melancholy or painful
feelings ; and profess to hear nothing that may give
them a sad or unpleasant sensation. Those who have
so much tenderness for themselves, have usually but
little tenderness for others. It is impossible to go
through the world with perpetual sunshine over head,
and unfading flowers under foot. Clouds will gather
in the brightest sky, and weeds choke up the fairest
190 MISS LE R BOOK.
•oses and violets. And we should all end* a
to prepare ourselves for these changes, by listening
with sympathy to the manner in which they have
No person of good feelings, good manners, or true
refinement, will entertain their friends with minute
descriptions of sickening horrors, such as barbarous
executions, revolting punishments, or inhuman cruelties
perpetrated on animals. We have never heard an
officer dilate on the dreadful spectacle of a battle-
field; a scene of which no description can ever pre-
sent an adequate idea; and which no painter has ever
exhibited in all its shocking and disgusting details.
Physicians do not talk of the dissecting-room.
Unless you are speaking to a physician, and are
interested in a patient he is attending, refrain in
conversation from entering into the particulars of
revolting diseases, such as scrofula, ulcers, cutaneous
afflictions, &c. and discuss no terrible operations—
especially at table. There are women who seem to
delight in dwelling on such disagreeable topics.
If you are attending the sick-bed of a friend, and
are called down to a visiter, speak of her illness with
delicacy, and do not disclose all the unpleasant cir-
cumstances connected with it; things which it would
grieve her to know, may, if once told, be circulated
among married women, and by them repeated to their
husbands. In truth, upon most occasions, a married
woman is not a safe confidant. She will assuredly
tell every thing to her husband; and in all probability
to his mother and sisters also — that is, every thing
concerning her friends — always, perhaps, under a
strict injunction of secrecy. But a secret entrusted
to more than two or three persons, is soon dilfused
throughout the whole community.
A man of some humour was to read aloud a deed.
He commenced with the words, " Know one woman by
these presents." He was interrupted, and asked why
he changed the words, which were in the usual form,
"Know all men by these presents." "Oh!" said he,
"'tis very certain that all men will soon know it, if
one woman does."
Generally speaking, it is injudicious for ladies to
attempt arguing with gentlemen on political or finan-
cial topics. All the information that a woman can
possibly acquire or remember on these subjects is so
small, in comparison with the knowledge of men, that
the discussion will not elevate them in the opinion of
masculine minds. Still, it is well for a woman to
desire enlightenment, that she may comprehend some-
thing of these discussions, when she hears them from
the other sex; therefore let her listen as understand-
ing^ as she can, but refrain from controversy and
argument on such topics as the grasp of a female
mind is seldom capable of seizing or retaining. Men
are very intolerant toward women who are prone to
contradiction and contention, when the talk is' of
things considered out of their sphere ; but very indul-
gent toward a modest and attentive listener, who only
asks questions for the sake of information. Men like
to dispense knowledge ; but few of them believe that
in departments exclusively their own, they can profit
198 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUB BOOtf.
much by the suggestions of women. It is true there
are and have been women who have distinguished
themselves greatly in the higher branches of science
and literature, and on whom the light of genius has
clearly descended. But can the annals of woman
produce a female Shakspeare, a female Milton, a
Goldsmith, a Campbell, or a Scott? What woman
has painted like Raphael or Titian, or like the best
artists of our own times ? Mrs. Darner and Mrs.
Siddons had a talent for sculpture ; so had Marie of
Orleans, the accomplished daughter of Louis Philippe.
Yet what are the productions of these talented ladies
compared to those of Thorwaldsen, Canova, Chantrey,
and the master chisels of the great American statu-
aries. Women have been excellent musicians, and
have made fortunes by their voices. But is there
among them a Mozart, a Bellini, a Michael Kelly, an
Auber, a Boieldieu ? Has a woman made an improve-
ment on steam-engines, or on any thing connected
with the mechanic arts ? And yet these things have
been done by men of no early education — by self-
taught men. A good tailor fits, cuts out, and sews
better than the most celebrated female dress-maker.
A good man-cook far excels a good woman-cook.
Whatever may be their merits as assistants, women
are rarely found who are very successful at the head
of any establishment that requires energy and origi-
nality of mind. Men make fortunes, women make
livings. And none make poorer livings than those
who waste their time, and bore their friends, by
writing and lecturing upon the equality of the sexes,
and what they call " Women's Rights." How is it that
most of these ladies live separately from their husbands ;
either despising them, or being despised by them ?
Truth is, the female sex is really as inferior to the
male in vigour of mind as in strength of body ; and
all arguments to the contrary are founded on a few
anomalies, or based on theories that can never be re-
duced to practice. Because there was a Joan of Arc,
and an Augustina of Saragossa, should females expose
themselves to all the dangers and terrors of "the
battle-field's dreadful array." The women of the
American Revolution effected much good to their
country's cause, without encroaching upon the pro-
vince of its brave defenders. They were faithful and
patriotic; but they left the conduct of that tremen-
dous struggle to abler heads, stronger arms, and
, We envy not the female who can look unmoved
upon physical horrors — even the sickening horror?, of
Yet women are endowed with power to meet mis-
fortune with fortitude ; to endure pain with patience ;
to resign themselves calmly, piously, and hopefully to
the last awful change that awaits every created being ;
to hazard their own lives for those that they love ;
to toil cheerfully and industriously for the support of
their orphan children, or their aged parents ; to watch
with untiring tenderness the sick-bed of a friend, or
even of a stranger ; to limit their own expenses and
their own pleasures, that they may have something to
bestow on deserving objects of charity ; to smooth the
£00 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUB LOOK.
ruggedness of man ; to soften his asperities of temper;
to refine his manners ; to make his home a happy
one ; and to improve the minds and hearts of their
children. All this women can — and do. And this .3
their true mission.
In talking with a stranger, if the conversation
should turn toward sectarian religion, enquire to what
church he belongs ; and then mention your own church.
This, among people of good sense and good manners,
and we may add of true piety, will preclude all danger
of remarks being made on either side which may be
painful to either party. Happily we live in a land of
universal toleration, where all religions are equal in
the sight of the law and the government ; and where
no text is more powerful and more universally received
than the wise and incontrovertible words — "By their
fruits ye shall know them." He that acts well is a
good man, and a religious man, at whatever altar he
may worship. He that acts ill is a bad man, and has
no true sense of religion ; no matter how punctual his
attendance at church, if of that church he is an un-
worthy member. Ostentatious sanctimony may de-
ceive man, but it cannot deceive God.
On this earth there are many roads to heaven ;
and each traveller supposes his own to be the best.
But they must all unite in one road at the last. It is
only Omniscience that can decide. And it will then be
found that no sect is excluded because of its faith ; or
if its members have acted honestly and conscientiously
according to the lights they had, and molesting no one
for believirii: in the tenets of a different church. The
religion of Jesus, as our Saviour left it to us, was one
of peace and good-will to men, and of unlimited faith
in the wisdom and goodness, and power and majesty
of Grod. It is not for a frail human being to place
limits to his mercy, and say what church is the only
true one — and the only one that leads to salvation.
Let all men keep in mind this self-evident truth — " He
can't be wrong whose life is in the right ;" and try to
act up to the Divine command of " doing unto all men
as you would they should do unto you."
In America, no religious person of good sense or
good manners ever attempts, in company, to controvert,
uncalled for, the sectarian opinions of another. No
clergyman that is a gentleman, (and they all are so, or
ought to be,) ever will make the drawing-room an
arena for religious disputation, or will offer a single
deprecatory remark, on finding the person with whom
he is conversing to be a member of a church essentially
differing from his own. And if clergymen have that
forbearance, it is doubly presumptuous for a woman,
(perhaps a silly young girl,) to take such a liberty.
"Fools rush in, where angels jkar to tread."
Nothing is more apt to defeaj even a good purpose
than the mistaken and ill-judged zeal of those that are
not competent to understand it in all its bearings.
Truly does the Scripture tell us — " There is a time
for all things." We know an instance of a young
lady at a ball attempting violently to make a proselyte
of a gentleman of twice her age, a man of strong sense
and high moral character, whose church (of which he
was a sincere member) differed materially from her
202 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
own. After listening awhile, lie told her that a ball-
room was no place for such discussions, and made his
bow and left her. At another party we saw a young
girl going round among the matrons, and trying to
bring them all to a confession of faith.
Religion is too sacred a subject for discussion at balls
If you find that an intimate friend has a leaning
toward the church in which you worship, first ascer-
tain truly if her parents have no objection, and then,
but not else, you may be justified in inducing her to
adopt your opinions. Still, in most cases, it is best
not to interfere.
In giving your opinion of a new book, a picture, or
a piece of music, when conversing with a distinguished
author, an artist or a musician, say modestly, that " so
it appears to you," — that "it has given you plea-
sure," or the contrary. But do not positively and
dogmatically assert that it is good, -or that it is bad.
The person with whom you are talking is, in all proba-
bility, a far more competent judge than yourself;
therefore, listen attentively, and he may correct your
opinion, and set you right. If he fail to convince you,
remain silent, or change the subject. Vulgar ladies
have often a way of saying, when disputing on the
merits of a thing they are incapable of understanding,
"Any how, J like it," or, "It is quite good enough
for me" — Which is no proof of its being good enough
for any body else.
In being asked your candid opinion of a person, be
very cautious to whom you confide that opinion ; for
, CONVERSATION. 203
if repeated as yours, it may lead to unpleasant conse-
quences. It is only to an intimate and long-tried
friend that you may safely entrust certain things,
which if known, might produce mischief. Even very
intimate friends are not always to be trusted, and
when they have actually told something that they
heard under the injunction of secrecy, they will con-
sider it a sufficient atonement to say, " Indeed I did
not mean to tell it, but somehow it slipped out.;" or,
" I really intended to guard the secret faithfully, but
I was so questioned and cross-examined, and bewil-
dered, that I knew not how to answer without dis-
closing enough to make them guess the whole. I am
very sorry, and will try to be more cautious in future.
But these slips of the tongue will happen."
The lady whose confidence has been thus be-
trayed, should be "more cautious in future," and
put no farther trust in she of the slippery tongue —
giving her up, entirely, as unworthy of farther friend-
No circumstances will induce an honourable and
right-minded woman to reveal a secret after promising
secrecy. But she should refuse being made the
depository of any extraordinary fact which it may be
wrong to conceal, and wrong to disclose.
We can scarcely find words sufficiently strong to
contemn the heinous practice, so prevalent with low-
minded people, of repeating to their friends whatever
they hear to their disadvantage. By low-minded
people, we do not exclusively mean persons of low
station. The low-minded are not always "born in a
204 miss Leslie's behaviour look.
garret, in a kitchen bred." Unhappily, there aie (so-
called) ladies — ladies of fortune and fashion — who will
descend to meannesses of which the higher ranks
ought to be considered incapable, and who, without
compunction, will wantonly lacerate the feelings and
mortify the self-love of those whom they call their
friends, telling them what has been said about them
by other friends.
It is sometimes said of a notorious tatler and mis-
chief-maker, that "she has, notwithstanding, a good
heart." How is this possible, when it is her pastime
to scatter dissension, ill-feeling, and unhappiness among
all whom she calls her friends? She may, perhaps,
give alms to beggars, or belong to sewing circles, or
to Bible societies, or be officious in visiting the sick.
All this is meritorious, and it is well if there is some
good in her. But if she violates the charities of social
life, and takes a malignant pleasure in giving pain,
and causing trouble — depend on it, her show of benevo-
lence is mere ostentation, and her acts of kindness
spring not from the heart. She will convert the sew-
ing circle into a scandal circle. If she is assiduous in
visiting her sick friends, she will turn to the worst
account, particulars she may thus acquire of the
sanctities of private life and the humiliating mysteries
of the sick-chamber.
If indeed it can be possible that tatling and mis-
chief-making may be only (as is sometimes alleged) a
bad habit, proceeding from an inability to govern the
tongue — shame on those w T ho have allowed themselves
to acquire such a habit, and who make no effort to
CONVERSATION. . 205
subdue it, or who have encouraged it in their children,
and perhaps set them the example.
If you are so unfortunate as to know one of these
pests of society, get rid of her acquaintance as soon as
you can. If allowed to go on, she will infallibly
bring you into some difficulty, if not into disgrace.
If she begins by telling you — "I had a hard battle to
fight in your behalf last evening at Mrs. Morley's.
Miss Jewson, whom you believe to be one of your best
friends, said some very severe things about you, which,
to my surprise, were echoed by Miss Warden, who
said she knew them to be true. But I contradicted
them warmly. Still they would not be convinced, and
said I must be blind and deaf not to know better.
How very hard it is to distinguish those who love
from those who hate us !"
Instead of encouraging the mischief-maker to relate
the particulars, and explain exactly what these severe
things really were, the true and dignified course should
be to say as calmly as you can — "I consider no per-
son my friend, who comes to tell such things as must
give me pain and mortification, and lessen my regard
for those I have hitherto esteemed, and in whose
society I have found pleasure. I have always liked
Miss Jewson and Miss Warden, and am sorry to hear
that they do not like me. Still, as I am not certain
of the exact truth, (being in no place where I could
myself overhear the discussion,) it will make no difier-
ence in my behaviour to those young ladies. And
now then we will change the subject, never to resume
it. My true friends do not bring me such tales."
20l> MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUB BOOK.
By-the-bye, tatlcrs are always listeners, and nre
frequently the atrocious writers of anonymous letters,
for which they should be expelled from society.
Let it be remembered that all who are capable of
detailing unpleasant truths, (such as can answer no
purpose but to produce bad feeling, and undying
enmity,) are likewise capable of exaggerating and
misrepresenting facts, that do not seem quite strong
enough to excite much indignation. Tale-bearing
always leads to lying. She who begins with the first
of these vices, soon arrives at the second.
Some prelude these atrocious communications with —
"I think it my duty to tell how Miss Jackson and
Mrs. Wilson talk about you, for it is right that you
should know your friends from your enemies." You
listen, believe, and from that time become the enemy
of Miss Jackson and Mrs. Wilson — having too much
pride to investigate the truth, and learn what they
Others will commence with — "I'm a plain-spoken
woman, and consider it right, for your own sake, to
inform you that since your return from Europe, you
talk quite too much of your travels."
You endeavour to defend yourself from this accusa-
tion, by replying that "having seen much when
abroad, it is perfectly natural that you should allude
to what you have seen."
u Oh ! but there should be moderation in all things,
lo be candid — your friend Mrs. Willet says she is
tired of hearing of France and Italy."
" Why then does she always try to get a seat next
to me, and ask me to tell her something more of those
" Well, I don't know. People are so deceitful !
There is Mr. Liddard, who says you bore him to death
with talking about England."
"And yet whenever I do talk about England, I
always find him at the back of my chair. And when
I pause, he draws me on to say more."
"Men are such flatterers ! Well, I always tell th$
plain truth. So it is best you should know Colonel
Greenfield declares that since your return from Europe
you are absolutely intolerable. Excuse my telling you
these things. It is only to show that ©Very body else
thinks just as I do. Mrs. Gray says it is a pity you
ever crossed the Atlantic."
Do not excuse her — but drop her acquaintance as
soon as you can, without coming to a quarrel, in which
case you will most probably get the worst. A plain-
spoken woman is always to be dreaded. Her cold-
blooded affectation of frankness is only a pretext to
introduce something that will wound your feelings;
and then she will tell you "that Mrs. A. B. C. and D.,
and Mr. 13. and Mr. F. also, have said a hundred times
that you are a woman of violent temper, and cannot
listen to advice without flying into a passion."
And she will quietly take her leave, informing
you that she is your best friend, and that all she
has said was entirely for your own good, and that
she shall continue to admonish you whenever she sees
A plain-spoken woman will tell you that you were
208 L BOOK.
thought to look very ill at Mrs. Thomson's party, you*
dress being rather in bad taste; that you ought to
give up singing in company, your best friends saying
that your style is now a little old-fashioned ; that
you should not attempt talking French to French
ladies, as Mr. Leroux and Mr. Dufond say that your
French is not quite Parisian, &c. &c. She will say
these things upon no authority but her own.
When any one prefaces an enquiry by the vulgarism,
"If it is a fair question?" you may be very certain
that the question is a most unfair one — that is, a
question which it is impertinent to ask, and of no
consequence whatever to the asker.
If a person begins by telling you, "Do not be
offended at what I am going to say," prepare yourself
for something that she knows will certainly offend you.
But as she has given you notice, try to listen, and
answer with calmness.
It is a delicate and thankless business to tell a
friend of her faults, unless you are certain that, in
return, you can bear without anger to hear her point
out your own. She will undoubtedly recriminate.
It is not true that an irritable temper cannot be
controlled. It can, and is, whenever the worldly
interest of the enrag&e depends on its suppression.
Frederick the Great severely reprimanded a Prussian
officer for striking a soldier at a review. " I could not
refrain," said the officer. " I have a high temper, your
majesty, and I cannot avoid showing it, when I see a
man looking sternly at me." "Yes, you can," re-
plied the king. "lam looking sternly at you, and I
am giving you ten times as much cause of offence as
that poor soldier — yet you do not strike me."
A naturally irritable disposition can always be
tamed down, by a strong and persevering effort to
subdue it, and by determining always to check it on
its first approaches to passion. The indulgence of
temper renders a man (and still more a woman) the
dread and shame of the whole house. It wears out
the affection of husbands, wives, and children — of
brothers and sisters ; destroys friendship ; disturbs
the enjoyment of social intercourse ; causes incessant
changing of servants ; and is a constant source of
misery to that most unhappy of all classes, poor
That a violent temper is generally accompanied by
a good heart, is a popular fallacy. On the contrary,
the indulgence of it hardens the heart. And even if
its ebullitions are always succeeded by " compunctious
visitings," and followed by apologies and expressions
of regret, still it leaves wounds that time cannot
always efface, and which we may forgive, but cannot
Ill-tempered women are very apt to call themselves
nervous, and to attribute their violent fits of passion to
a weakness of the nerves. This is not true. A real
nervous affection shows itself " more in sorrow than in
anger," producing tears, tremor, and head-ache, fears
without adequate cause, and general depression of
spirits — the feelings becoming tender to a fault.
When a woman abandons herself to terrible fits of
anger with little or no cause, and makes herself a
210 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR E<
frightful spectacle, by turning white with rage, rolling
up her eyes, drawing in her lips, gritting her teeth,
clenching her hands, and stamping her feet, depend
on it, she is not of a nervous, but of a furious tem-
perament. A looking-glass held before her, to let her
see what a shocking object she has made herself, would,
we think, have an excellent effect. We have seen but
a few females in this revolting state, and only three of
them were ladies — but we have heard of many.
When the paroxysm is over, all the atonement she
can make is to apologize humbly, and to pray con-
tritely. If she has really any goodness of heart, and
any true sense of religion, she will do this promptly,
and prove her sincerity by being very kind to those
whom she has outraged and insulted — and whose best
course during these fits of fury is to make no answer,
or to leave the room.
As out of nothing, nothing can come, to be a good
conversationist, you must have a well-stored mind,
originality of ideas, and a retentive memory. With-
out making a lumber-room of your head, and stuffing it
with all manner of useless and unnecessary things not
worth retaining, you should select only such as are
useful or ornamental, interesting or amusing. Your
talk must flow as if spontaneously; one subject sug-
gesting another, none being dwelt upon too long.
Anecdotes may be introduced with much effect. They
should be short, and related in such words as will give
them the most point. We have heard the same anec-
dote told by two persons. With one it became prosy
and tiresome, and the point was not perceptible from
its being smothered in ill-chosen words. "With the
other narrator, the anecdote was "all light and spirit;
soon told, and not soon forgotten." Brevity is the
soul of wit, and wit is the soul of anecdote. And
where wit is wanting, humour is an excellent substi-
tute. Every body likes to laugh, or ought to. Yet
there is a time for all things ; and after listening to a
serious or interesting incident well related, it is ex-
ceedingly annoying to hear some silly and heartless
girl follow it with, a ridiculous remark, intended to be
funny — such as "Quite solemncolly!" — or, "We are
all getting into the doldrums."
You may chance to find yourself in a company where
no one is capable of appreciating the best sort of con-
versation, and where to be understood, or indeed to
keep them awake, you must talk down to the capacities
of your hearers. You must manage this adroitly, or
they may find you out, and be offended. So, after all,
it is, perhaps, safest to go on and scatter pearls where
wax beads would be equally valued. Only in such
society, do not introduce quotations from the poets,
especially from Shakspeare, or your hearers may
wonder what queer words you are saying. Another
time, and with congenial companions, you can indulge
in "the feast of reason, and the flow of soul."
If placed beside a lady so taciturn that no effort on
your part can draw her out, or elicit more than a mono-
syllable, and that only at long intervals, you may safely
conclude that there is nothing in her, and leave her to
her own dullness, or to be enlivened by the approach
of one of the other sex. That will make her talk.
212 MISS LESLIE'S BEITAVIOril BO
Few persons are good talkers who are not extensive
and miscellaneous readers. You cannot attentively
read the best authors without obtaining a great com-
mand of words, so that you can always, with ease and
fluency, clothe your ideas in appropriate language.
Knowledge is of course the basis of conversation — ■
the root whose deepened strength and vigour gives life
to the tree, multiplicity to its branches, and beauty
to its foliage.
Much that is bad and foolish in women would have
no existence if their minds were less barren. In a
waste field, worthless and bitter weeds will spring up
which it is hard to eradicate ; while a soil that is judi-
ciously cultivated produces abundant grain, luxuriant
grass, and beautiful flowers.
There are ladies so exceedingly satisfied with them-
selves, and so desirous of being thought the special
favourites of Providence, that they are always desiring
to hold out an idea "that pain and sorrow can come
not near them," and that they enjoy a happy exemp-
tion from "all the ills that flesh is heir to." They
complain of nothing, for they profess to have nothing
to complain of. They feel not the cold of winter, nor
the heat of summer. The temperature is always
exactly what they like. To them the street is never
muddy with rain, nor slippery with ice. Unwhole-
some food agrees perfectly with tliem. They sleep
soundly in bad beds, or rather no beds are bad.
Travelling never fatigues them. Nobody imposes on
them, nobody offends them. Other people may be ill
— they are always in good health and spirits. To
them all books are delightful — all pictures beautiful —
all music charming. Other people may have trouble
with their children — they have none. Other people
may have bad servants — theirs are always excellent.
Now if all this were true, the lot of such persons
would indeed be enviable, and we should endeavour to
learn by what process such complete felicity has been
attained — and why they see every thing through such
a roseate medium. But it is not true. This is all
overweening vanity, and a desire "to set themselves
up above the rest of the world." We have always
noticed that these over-fortunate, over-happy women
have, in reality, a discontented, care-worn look, re-
sulting from the incessant painful effort to seem what
they are not. And if any body will take the trouble,
it is very easy to catch them in discrepancies and
contradictions. But it is not polite to do so. There-
fore let them pass.
As mothers are always on the qui vive, (and very
naturally,) be careful what you say of their children.
Unless he is a decidedly handsome man, you may give
offence by remarking, " The boy is the very image of
his father." If the mother is a vain woman, she would
much rather hear that all the children are the very
image of herself. Refrain from praising too much
the children of another family, particularly if the two
sets of children are cousins. It is often dangerous to
tell a mother that "little Willy is growing quite hand-
some." She will probably answer, "I had hoped my
child was handsome always." With some mothers it
is especially imprudent to remark that "little Mary
214 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOoK.
looks like her aunt, or her grand mother." Again, if
you prudently say nothing about the looks of the little
ucars, you may be suspected and perhaps accused of
taking no interest in children. Young ladies, when in
presence of gentlemen, are too apt to go on the other
extreme, and over-act their parts, in the excessive
fondling and kissing and hugging of children not in
the least engaging, or even good-looking. We cannot
believe that any female, not the mother, can really
fall into raptures with a cross, ugly child. But how
pleasant it is to play with and amuse, an intelligent,
affectionate, and good-tempered little thing, to hear its
innocent sayings, and to see the first buddings of its
When you are visiting another city, and receiving
civilities from some of its inhabitants, it is an ill re-
quital for their attentions to disparage their place,
and glorify your own. In every town there is some-
thing to praise; and in large cities there is a great
deal to amuse, to interest, and to give pleasure. Yet
there are travellers who (like Smelfungus) are never
satisfied with the place they are in — who exclaim all
the time against the east winds of Boston, the sea-aii
of New York, the summer heats of Philadelphia, the
hilly streets 0." Baltimore, and the dusty avenues of
Washington. Wo have heard people from New Or-
leans call Philadelphia the hottest city in the Union,
and people from Quebec call it the coldest. If there
are two successive days of rain, then poor Philadelphia
is the rainiest of all places. If it snows twice in two
weeks, then it is the snowiest. If a fire breaks
out, it is the city of fires. If there is an Irish Jight
in Moyamensing, it is the city of perpetual riots. By-
the-bye, after that summer when we really had several
successive riots up-town, and down-town, we saw an
English caricature of the City of Brotherly Love,
where the spirit of William Penn, in hat and wig, was
looking down sadly from the clouds at the rioters, who
were all represented as Quakers, in strait, plain clothes,
and broad brims, knocking each other about with
sticks and stones, firing pistols, and slashing with
bowie-knives. Alas, poor Quakers ! how guiltless ye
were of all this ! It is a common belief in England,
that of this sect are all the people of Pennsylvania.
In talking to an elderly lady, it is justly considered
very rude to make any allusion to her age ; even if she
is unmistakeably an old woman, and acknowledges it
herself.' For instance, do not say — rt This silk of
yours is very suitable for an elderly person" — or — ■
" "Will you take this chair ? — an old lady like you will
find it very comfortable" — or — " Look, baby — is not
that grandma?" — or — "I told the servant to attend
first to you, on account of your age" — or — " Children,
don't make such a noise — have you no respect for $ld
All this we have heard.
216 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
Every one who sees much of the world must observe
with pain and surprise various unaccountable instances
of improper and incorrect words that sometimOf dis-
figure the phraseology of females who have gone
through a course of fashionable education, and mixed
in what is really genteel society. These instances, it
is true, are becoming every day more rare ; but we
regret that they should exist at all. Early impres-
sions are hard to eradicate. Bad habits of speaking
are formed in childhood : sometimes from the society
of illiterate parents, but more frequently from that of
nurses and servants ; and if not corrected or shaken
off in due time, will cling like burrs to the diction of
women who are really ladies in every thing else. Such
women will say "that there," and "this here" —
"them girls" — "them boys" — "I don't want no
more" — "I didn't hear nothing about it" — "I didn't
see nobody there" — "I won't do so no more." And
other similar violations of grammar ; and grammar is
never more palpably outraged than when two nega-
tives are used for an affirmative. It is surely shorter
and easier to say, "I want no more" — "I heard
INCORRECT WORDS. 217
nothing about it"*— "I saw nobody there" — "I will
do so no more."
Another grammatical error, less glaring, but equally
incorrect, is the too common practice of converting a
certainty into an uncertainty by saying, " I have no
doubt but he was there." As if his being there was
your only doubt. You should say, " I have no doubt
of his being there." "I have no doubt but that he
wrote it," seems to signify that you do doubt his
writing it, and that you are nearly sure he did not.
The proper phrase is, "I have no doubt of his writing
it." " I do not doubt but that she knew it long ago,"
implies that you do doubt her having known it. It
should be, "I do not doubt her knowing it long ago."
Leave out hut, when you talk of ^doubting.
No word is proper that does not express the true
meaning. For instance, it is not right to call a town-
ship a town. A township is a section of land that
may consist entirely of forests and farms, and may
not comprise even a small village or hamlet. A town
resembles a city in being closely built up with streets
of adjoining houses. Men cannot go fishing or hunt-
ing in a town, though they may in a township. We
are surprised to find this misapplication of the word
among some of the most distinguished of the New-
England literati. Perhaps it explains Jonathan's per-
plexity in one of the old Yankee Doodle songs :
" He said he couldn't see the town,
There were so many houses."
We hope it is not necessary to caution our readers
218 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
against the most provincial of Yankee provincialisms,
such as, ' „ liadn't ought," or " I shouldn't ought"' —
or " It warn't," instead of " It was not" — or the
exclamations, "Do tell!" or "I want to know," ejacu-
lated as a token of surprise the moment after you have
told, and made known. The common English habit,
or rather a habit of the common English, of using con-
tinually the words "you know," and "you know," ifl
very tiresome, particularly when they are talking of
something that you cannot possibly be acquainted
with. Check them by saying, "No, I do not know.""
They also make great use of the word " monstrous" —
ugly as that word is. Do not imitate them in saying
that you are " monstrous glad," or " monstrous sorry,"
or "monstrous tired," or that a young lady is " mon-
strous pretty." We have heard even " monstrous
We advise our New-England friends to eschew,
both in speaking and writing, all Yankee phrases that
Ho not convey the exact meaning of the words. For
instance, to " turn out the tea," instead of to ''•pour it
out." There can be no turn given, in this process, to
the spout or handle of the tea-pot. On the contrary,
it cannot pour well unless it is held straight. To
" cut the eggs," instead of to beat them, The motion
of beating eggs does not cut them. " Braiding eggs,''
is still worse. But we believe that this braiding is not
the same as cutting. What is it ?
Two young officers were travelling in the far West
when they stopped to take supper at a small road-side
tavern, kept by a very rough Yankee woman.
INCORRECT WORDS. 219
landlady, in a calico sun-bonnet, and bare feet, stood
at the head of the table to pour out. She enquired
of her guests, " if they chose long sweetening, or short
sweetening in their coffee." The first officer, sup-
posing that " long sweetening" meant a large portion
of that article, chose it accordingly. What was his
dismay when he saw their hostess dip her finger deep
down into an earthen jar of honey that stood near her,
and then stir it (the finger) round in the coffee. His
companion, seeing this, preferred "short sweetening."
Upon which the woman picked up a large lump of
maple sugar that lay in a brown paper on the floor
beside her, and biting off a piece, put it into his cup.
Both the gentlemen dispensed with coffee that evening.
This anecdote we heard from the sister of one of those
" Emptyings" is not a good name for yeast. " Up
chamber, up garret, down cellar," are all wrong. Why
not say, "up in the chamber, up in the garret, down
in the kitchen, down in the cellar ?" &c. Why should a
mirthful fit of laughter be called "a gale!" "Last
evening we were all in such a gale !"
Snow and ice are not-the same. Therefore a snow-
ball should not be called an ice-ball, which latter might
be a very dangerous missile.
Pincushions are pincushions, and not pin-balls,
unless they are of a globular shape. If in the form
of hearts, diamonds, &c, they are not balls.
When you are greatly fatigued, say so — and not
that you are "almost beat out." When the Yankees
are "beat out," the English are quite "knocked up."
220 ' miss l/slie's behaviour book.
The English are "starved with cold" — Americans
only starve with hunger. They may perish with cold ;
but unless hunger is added, they will not starve.
It is wrong to say that certain articles of food are
healthy or unhealthy. Wholesome and unwholesome
are the "right words. A pig may be healthy or
unhealthy while alive; but after he is t killed and
becomes pork, he can enjoy no health, and suffer no
If you have been accustomed to pronounce the
word " does" as " doos," get rid of the custom as soon
as you can. Also, give up saying " pint" for " point,"
"jint" for " joint," " anint" for "anoint," &c. Above
all, cease saying " featur, creatur, natur, and raptur."'
In New England it is not uncommon to hear the
word "ugly" applied to a bad temper. We have
heard, " He will never do for president, because he is
so ugly." On our observing that we had always con-
sidered the gentleman in question, as rather a hand-
some man, it was explained that he was considered
ugly in disposition.
A British traveller, walking one day in a suburb of
Boston, saw a woman out on a door-step whipping a
screaming child. " Good woman," said the stranger,
"why do you whip that boy so severely." She
answered, " I will whip him, because he is so ugly."
The Englishman walked on; but put down in his
journal that "American mothers are so cruel as to
beat their children, merely because they are not
No genteel Bostonian should call Faneuil Hall, " Old
INCORRECT WORDS. 221
Eunnel," or talk of the " Quinsey market," instead of
Quincy, or speak of " Bacon street," or "Bacon Hill.'*
That place was so called from a beacon, or signal-pole
with* a light at the top, and never was particularly
celebrated for the pickling and smoking of pork.
The word "slump," or "slumped," has too coarse
a sound to be used by a lady.
When you have exchanged one article for another,
say so, and not that you have " traded it."
Do not say, " I should admire to read that book,"
"I should admire to hear that song," "I should
admire to see the president." Substitute, "I should
like to read that book," " I should like to hear that
song," "I should like to see the president."
Using the word " love" instead of "like" is not pecu-
liar to the ladies of any section of the Union. But
they may assure themselves it is wrong to talk of
loving any thing that is eatable. They may like ter-
rapins, oysters, chicken-salad, or ice-cream ; but they
need not love terrapins or oysters, or love chicken-
We remember, in the farce of Modern Antiques,
laughing at an awkward servant-girl bringing in a
dish of salad to a supper-table, before the company
had assembled, and, after taking a large bite, turning
her foolish face toward the audience, and saying, " I
Even if you are a provincial New-Yorker, give up
calling the door-step or porch by the ancient Dutch
name of "stoop," (stoep,) and do not talk of going out
on the stoop, or sitting in the stoop. When a load of
222 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
wood or coal is put down at jour door, say not that it
is " dumped." Never speak of visiting friends that
"live to Brooklyn," or "live to Newark." They live
at those places, not to them. The word "muss"
sounds badly, when a young lady says, "her scarf i3
mussed," or her collar is "mussed"-^or that her
bureau drawers are all in a muss. The English
synonyme, "mess," has rather a better sound. Be it
also remembered that a stool is not a bench. A bench
holds several people, a stool but one.
When you mean that an article of dress (a bonnet
or a cap) is neat and pretty, do not say that it is
cunning. An inanimate object cannot be cunning.
To be cunning requires some mind. We are sorry to
say that we have heard females who, when they
intend to be witty, talk of taking a snooze, (which
means a nap,) and speak of a comic anecdote as being
"rich," and of a man in faded clothes as looking
" seedy." We have heard Philadelphia ladies speak
of a "great big" house, or a "great big" ship; and
there are still some who expect what has already come
to pass — as, " I expect it rained somewhere last night"
— "I expect she arrived yesterday" — "I expect he
went to Baltimore." In all these cases the proper
term is "I suppose," and not "I expect."
The word "mayhap" (instead of perhaps) is a posi-
tive vulgarism. It is of English origin, but is only
used in England by very low people — and by English
We have little tolerance for young ladies, who>
aaving in reality neither wit nor humour, set up foi
INC 3RRECT WORDS. 228
both, and having nothing of the right stock to go upon,
substitute coarseness and impertinence, (not to say"
impudence,) and try to excite laughter, and attract
the attention of gentlemen, by talking slang. Where
do they get it ? How do they pick it up ? From low
newspapers, or from vulgar books ? Surely not from
"We have heard one of these ladies, when her collar
chanced to be pinned awry, say that it was put on
drunk — also that her bonnet was drunk, meaning
crooked on her head. When disconcerted, she was
"floored." When submitting to do a thing unwill-
ingly, "she was brought to the scratch." Sometimes
" she did things on the sly." She talked of a certain
great vocalist "singing like a beast." She believed
it very smart and piquant to use these vile expressions.
It is true, when at parties, she always had half a dozen
gentlemen about her ; their curiosity being excited as
to what she would say next. And yet she was a
woman of many good qualities ; and one who boasted
of having always "lived in society."
We think that gentlemen lose a particle of their
respect for young ladies who allow their names to be
abbreviated into such cognomens as Kate, Madge,
Bess, Nell, &c. Surely it is more lady-like to be
called Catharine, Margaret, Eliza, or Ellen. We
have heard the beautiful name Virginia degraded into
Jinny; and Harriet called Hatty, or even Hadge.
A very silly practice has been introduced of writing
Sally, Sallie — Fanny, Fannie — Mary, Marie — Abby,
Abbie, &c. What would our grand-parents have
224 miss Leslie's beiiaviour boof
thought of Pollie, Mollic, Peggie, Kittie, Nancie?
Suppose young men were to adopt it, and sign them-
selves, Sammie, Billie, Dickie, Tommie, &c. !
By-the-bye, unless he is a relation, let no young
lady address a gentleman by his christian name. It
is a familiarity which he will not like.
Ant article you are likely to want on more than
one occasion, it is better to buy than to borrow. If
your own, you can have it always at hand : you will
lay yourself under no obligation to a lender, and incur
no responsibility as to its safety while in your posses-
sion. But when you do borrow, see that the article is
speedily returned. And, under no consideration, take
the liberty of lending it to any person whatever, before
restoring it to the owner. Apologies and expressions
of regret are no compensation, should it be out of your
power to replace it if injured or lost.
When you ask to borrow a thing, do not say, "Will
you loan it to me?" The word "loan" is, by good
talkers, and good writers, never used but as a sub-
stantive : notwithstanding that Johnson gives it as a
verb also, but only on one obscir~ au' 1 v ity — and
Johnson is not now regarded as infallible. To lend,
not to loan, is the usual and proper expression. , As a
substantive it is generally employed in a commercial
and political sense, or to denote a large sum borrowed
for a public and important purpose. It is true you
can say, " May I request the loan of your fan ?"
"Will you permit me to ask the loan of this
miss Leslie's behaviour book.
book?" But it is much easier and smoother to say
simply, "Will you lend me your fan for a few
minutes ?" "Will you be kind enough to lend me this
No articles, perhaps, are more frequently borrowed
than umbrellas, and none are returned with so little
punctuality. Frequently, a borrowed umbrella is
never thought of by the borrower, till after the
weather clears up ; the lender, most probably, suffer-
ing inconvenience for want of it. Often it is detained
till the next rain, when the lender has to take the
trouble of sending for it. And then it is very possible
it may not be found at all ; some person in the mean
time having nefariously carried it off. In such a case,
it is a matter of common honesty for the careless bor-
rower to replace that umbrella with a new one ; as she
is not to suppose that empty expressions of regret or
unmeaning apologies will be sufficient compensation
for a substantial loss.
To avoid any difficulties concerning umbrellas, it is
safest, in cloudy weather, not to leave home without
one. Many persons venture out beneath a threatening
sky, unwilling to encumber themselves with an umbrella,
which (possibly) they may not chance to require before
they got home. Their dependance is on stopping in at
the house of a friend, and borrowing one there. But
is it not better to incommode yourself a little by carry-
ing a closed umbrella, e\ ^you should not find occa-
sion to use it, than to hasten i u,pidly through the street
to reach a shelter when you find the rain beginning to
drop ; and afterwards to deprive your friend, even tern-
porarily, of an article which the wet weather may ren-
der it inconvenient to spare. Also, you may be caught
by a sudden shower, at a considerable distance from the
dwelling of the person with whom you are acquainted,
and you may find the omnibuses all full, (as they gene-
rally are when it rains,) and no other vehicle in sight.
Therefore, when the wind is in a rainy quarter, and
the sky louring, be always on the safe side, and take
an umbrella with you on leaving home.
Every lady should own a small light umbrella, or else
a very large parasol, of extra size, covered with strong
India silk that will not easily tear or fade, and that
may be used, on occasion, for either sun or rain ; and
that will not be cumbrous to carry, though quite large
enough to shelter one person. In truth, we have found
but few umbrellas, however large, that could effectually
cover two persons (unless they were people of very small
size) so that the rain did not drop upon the off-shoulder
of one or the other. You cannot be well screened by
an umbrella, unless you carry it all the time steadily
in your own hands, and over yourself alone. And
politeness requires that you should give your com-
panion the best of the shelter. So when two ladies go
out together, the clouds portending rain, let each take
an umbrella for herself, and then much injury to
bonnets and shawls may be avoided.
These small light umbrr' | are excellent to travel
with, and especially use r . m the transit from car to
steamboat, or even from the house to the carriage.
When not in " actual service," keep this umbrella be-
side you with your shawl and your travelling satchel.
228 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR COOK.
It will be useful during the journey, if packed away in
When you purchase an umbrella, desire that, before
sending it home, your name be engraved on the little
plate at the termination of the handle, or else on the
slide. "To make assurance doubly sure," you may
get the name painted in full in small white or yellow
letters on the inside of one of the gores of silk. These
letters will not be conspicuous on the outside, but they
will always serve to identify the umbrella. Your resi-
dence (if permanent) may be added. When about to
travel, sew a small card with your address near the
bottom of one of the gores inside. This card may be
changed when staying at a new place. With these
precautions, and a little care, (unless you are habitu-
ally thoughtless and forgetful,) you may carry an
umbrella from Maine to Florida without losing it.
All the members of a family should be provided
with at least one rain- umbrella of their own, and these
should be kept up-stairs when not likely to be wanted.
There is always great danger of their being purloined,
or borrowed, if left in the hall. Persons who would
not, for the world, be known to pilfer a single .cent,
are by no means particular with regard to detaining
an umbrella or a book.
Umbrellas for the kitchen can now be had as low as
* In buying a handsome parasol or umbrella, see that it has a
folding-joint in the middle of the stick, and that this joint works
easily, so that there may be no difficulty in packing it in a trunk
or box. To prevent the silk being rubbed, tie up the parasol in a
smooth linen case, previous to packing.
Beventy-five cents, or one dollar. If of coloured cotton
(brown or blue) and highly glazed, they will turn off a
moderate rain very well, but a drenching shower may
cause the dye or colouring to run in streams. For
very common use, though higher in price, the best are
of oil-cloth, or of brown unbleached linen. The
handsomest umbrellas are of blue or brown India
silk, with steel frames, and a small silver name-plate
on the handle. A green silk umbrella will soon be
spoiled by the rain, and none look so badly in a short
time. We have known a lady's bonnet entirely ruined
by the drippings from a green parasol, hastily put up
as a small screen from a sudden shower. No colour
stands the sun and damp so badly as green.
After borrowing an umbrella, fail not to send it
back immediately, unless you have previously ascer-
tained from the owner that it will not be wanted for
two or three hours. In that case, you will have time
to dry it before it goes home ; and this should de done
as soon as possible, that it may be returned in good
order. If left in the entry or hall, it may be carried
off; or, in plain words, stolen. Let it be dried under
your own inspection, spreading it wide open, and
standing it on the floor. If dried fast, and in an ex-
panded position, the wetting will not perceptibly
injure it. But if left shut and standing up closed,
with the wet soaking into the umbrella, it will dry
in discoloured streaks, and be spoiled. If the spring
or any other part of a borrowed umbrella gets broken
or injured while in your possession, be sure to have it
repaired before sending home. There is a meanness
230 miss Leslie's beha\ >ok.
verging on dishonesty in leaving this to be done by
If the chea^) or common umbrellas are given up to
the care of the domestics, and kept in the kitchen, in
all probability they will soon disappear altogether,
and be no longer forthcoming when wanted. They
will lend them to their friends, and lose them in various
ways. The umbrellas should be kept in some small
room or closet up-stairs ; and when required, the ser-
vants should come and ask for them ; bringing them
back when done with, and dried.
When you go out to tea, even in a summer evening,
carry a shawl on your arm to throw over your shoulders
before coming out into the night-air. This will preclude
the necessity of borrowing one of your friend, should
the weather have changed and grown cooler. Also, to
prevent any risk from damp pavements, take with you
a pair of over-shoes, (India-rubber, of course,) or else a
pair of inside-soles, such as you can conveniently slip
into your pocket. We have found no inside-soles
equal to those of lamb-skin with the wool left on the
upper-side ; the under-side of the" skin being coated
with India-rubber varnish to render them water-proof.
These soles are both warm and dry, and are far plea-
santer than cork 'soles covered with flannel, and more
lasting. But if you are obliged to borrow things to
wear home, see that they are sent back next morning,
if not the same evening, and in good order — the shawl
well-dried from the damp, and folded smoothly, and
the over-shoes cleaned nicely.
Always take a fan with you on going to a place of
pubiic amusement. You will be sure to require it, and
it is better than to depend on fanning yourself with the
bill or programme, or borrowing the fan of a more pro-
vident friend, and perhaps forgetting to return it.
With regard to the practice of borrowing articles
of household use, it is generally a custom "more
honoured in the breach than the observance," par-
ticularly when living in a place where all such things
can be easily obtained by sending to the shops. There
are persons who, with ample means of providing them-
selves with all that is necessary for domestic service,
are continually troubling their neighbours for the loan
of a hammer, a screw-driver, a gimlet, a carpet-
stretcher, a bed-stead screw, a fluting-iron, a preserv-
ing kettle, jelly-moulds, ice-cream freezers, &c. &c.
If these or any other articles must be borrowed, let
them be returned promptly, and in good order.
. If, in consequence of the unexpected arrival of
company, any thing for the table is borrowed of a
neighbour, such as tea, coffee, butter, &c, see that it
is punctually returned; equal in quantity, and in
quality; or rather superior. Habitual borrowers are
very apt to forget this piece of honesty, either neglect-
ing to return the things at all, or meanly substi-
tuting inferior articles — or perhaps laying themselves
under such an imputation without actually deserving
it, should the lender be ill-natured or untruthful.
There is a homely proverb, " To go a-borr owing is to
go a-sorr owing."
We have been told of a very aristocratic but very
economical lady, in one of our large cities, who was in
232 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR LOOK.
the almost daily practice of borrowing things of a
neighbour to whom she never condescended to s}
On one occasion she borrowed the use of that neigh-
bour's fire to roast a pair of fowls.
Avoid borrowing change, or small sums. It is
possible that you may really forget to repay them;
but then it is also possible that you may be suspected
of forgetting wilfully. So do not trust much to your
memory. It is a true remark, that there are few
instances of a borrower being so oblivious as to offer
twice over the return of a small loan, forgetting that
it had been paid already.
In borrowing a dress as a pattern, it is safest not
to try it upon yourself, lest some part of the body
should be stretched or frayed. Also, in trying on a
bonnet or cap that is not your own, refrain from tying
the strings ; as every tying will give them additional
wrinkles or rumples, and perhaps somewhat soil them.
Never put on another person's gloves.
Should you be staying at a boarding-house, do not
depend on "the lady in the next room," or any other
lady, to lend you things which you can procure quite
as easily as she can. Keep yourself always provided
with pen, ink, and paper, envelopes, wafers, sealing-
wax, pencils, post-office stamps, &c. Also with sewing
When a friend lends you a handkerchief, a collar,
or any other washable article, see that it is nicely
washed, and done up, before returning it to her, — and
do so promptly. If an article of jewellery, carry it
back to her yourself, and put it into her own hand, to
preclude all risk of loss. She will not be so ungene-
rous as to tell any person that she has lent it to you ;
and will for a while afterward, refrain from wearing
it herself, in any company where it may be recognized.
Should a visiter accidentally leave her handkerchief
at your house, have it washed and ironed before re-
storing it to her.
On borrowing a book, immediately put a cover upon
it — and let the cover be of clean, smooth, white or
light-coloured paper. What is called nankeen paper
is best and strongest for this purpose. Newspaper, or
any paper that is printed, makes a vile book-cover.
Beside its mean and dirty appearance, the printing-
ink will not only soil your own hands while reading,
but will do more injury to the binding than if it was
To cover a book neatly — take a sheet of nice paper
of more than sufficient size, and lay the book open
upon it. Cut a notch or indentation at the top and
bottom of this paper, so as to admit the back of the
book, making the notch exactly the width of the back,
and two or three inches deep. Fold down the edges
of the paper straightly, smoothly, and evenly, over
the edges of the binding or cover. Fold the corners
of the paper nicely underneath, (trimming off the
superfluous paper that turns under,) making them lie
as flat as possible. You may secure all the folds at
the corners with small wafers, pins, or paste-cement.
If you use pins, take care to stick them so as not to
scratch the inside of the binding, or to prick and tear
the fly-leaves. The paper-cover should not only 1*3
284 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
strong, but smooth also; if coarse and rough, it will
injure the binding. When you send the book home,
put it up neatly, so as to make a well-looking package ;
secured with either a string or a seal, and direct it
to the owner.
If the book is a pamphlet, and the sewing-thread
gives way, sew it again, with a large needle and a
strong brown thread — not white cotton. If not sewed
immediately, it will fall apart, and some leaves may
drop out, and be lost. If, by any unlucky accident,
a leaf is torn, lay the two pieces nicely together, and
sew them, lightly, with a rather fine thread. But if
one side of the torn page is blank, it will be best to
mend it by pasting a small narrow slip of white paper
underneath, so as to unite the torn edges neatly.
You may have excellent paste or cement, continu
ally at hand, by buying at a druggist's an ounce of
the best and cleanest gum tragacanth, with a little bit
of corrosive sublimate not larger than a grain of corn,
and dissolving them in a large half-pint of clear water,
either warm or cold. Pick the gum tragacanth very
clean, freeing it carefully from all dust and impurities.
Put it with the corrosive sublimate into a white or
queensware vessel having a close cover, and holding a
pint, to allow for swelling.,; Pour on the water; cover
it closely; and stir it with a stick, several times
during the day. When sufficiently dissolved, the
paste will be smooth throughout. The corrosive
sublimate will cause it to keep good for a year or
more; and it is an excellent and most convenient
cement for all purposes, from wall-paper to artificial
flowers. It must on no account be kept in a metai
vessel or be stirred with a metal spoon, as it will then
turn black. No house should be without this paste —
and it should find a place in every library and office.
When it is nearly used up, and becomes dry at the
bottom, pour on a little water, and it will dissolve
Make no remarks with pen or pencil on the margin
of any book that does not belong to yourself. What-
ever may be your own opinion of certain passages,
you have no right to disturb other readers by obtrud-
ing upon them these opinions, unasked for. The
pleasure of reading a book from a public library, is
frequently marred by finding, as you proceed, that
some impertinent fools have been before you, and
scribbled their silly comments all through; or in-
dulged in sneers and vituperations directed at the
author. You may lessen this annoyance by turning
over all the leaves before you begin reading, and
erasing all the marginal remarks with India rubber;
and this will also be an act of kindness to the next
reader after yourself. When written with ink, (as is
often the case,) there is no remedy; and you must
endure the infliction of being annoyed throughout the
book by these gratuitous criticisms. In a book, even
belonging to yourself, it is well to use the pencil
sparingly; and only to correct an error of the press,
or a chronological mistake of the author. All readers
like to form their own opinions as they go along,
without any prompting from those who have preceded
230 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
Never, on any consideration, allow yourself to lend
a borrowed book. If requested to do so, it should bo
a sufficient excuse to say that "it is not your own."
But if still urged, persist in declining steadily ; for it
is a liberty you have no right to take with any article
belonging to another. Even if the owner is your
Bister, you should lend nothing of hers without first
obtaining her permission. Whatever you borrow your-
self, should pass safely from your hands to those of
the owner. If a friend of yours is very desirous of
reading a borrowed book, and has no other means of
obtaining it, and you think you can depend on her
carefulness and punctuality, (not else,) you may promise
" to request for her the favour." And when the owner
has consented, (and not till then,) you may transfer the
book to the new borrower with strict injunctions to take
great care of it, and to return it as soon as possible.
I have known a borrowed book travel round a whole
circle of relations and acquaintances, till, when sent
home at last, it was literally worn out by dint of use.
And this when nearly the whole set were persons who
could well afford to buy all they were desirous of
reading. Many ladies like very well to read when
they can do so at the cost of their friends ; but they
seem to regard the purchase of any thing to improve
the mind, or amuse the fancy, as throwing away
money which they would expend more to their satis-
faction in articles of personal decoration. And is it
not melancholy to see an intelligent child craving in
vain for books, while bedizened with finery to gratify
the vanity of an ostentatious mother ?
If, with the permission of the owner, you have lent
a borrowed book to a person who, having lost or in-
jured it, still has the presumption to ask you to
intercede for the loan of another, you are bound to
refuse the request ; and do so with civility but steadi-
ness, assigning the true reason. It may be a salutary
lesson to that borrower.
Remember never to send home any article in a
wrapper of newspaper. Keep always in the house a
supply of good wrapping-paper, bought for the pur-
pose, and also of balls of twine. For putting up
small things, what is called shoe-paper is very useful.
It is both nice and cheap, selling from fifty to sixty
cents per ream, according to the size, and there are
twenty quires in a ream. There are varieties of
stronger and larger wrapping-paper for articles that
require such, and for parcels that are to be sent to
far-off places, or to go by public conveyances. Such
packages are best secured by red tape and sealing-
wax. At every stationer's may be purchased all
varieties of paper.
Be particularly careful of borrowed magazines, as
the loss of one number spoils a whole set, and you
may find great difficulty in replacing a lost number.
Even a newspaper should be punctually returned.
The owner may wish to file it, or to send it away to a
friend. If lost or defaced while in your possession,
send to the publishing-office and buy another. It is
unsafe to leave the book you are reading in the par-
lour of a hotel. Always carry it away with you,
whenever you quit the room — otherwise you will be
likely to sec it no more.
In America, books are so cheap (not to mention tho
numerous public libraries) that in most instances all
who can afford it had better buy than borrow, par-
ticularly such works as are worth a second reading.
If you find your books accumulating inconveniently,
give away a portion of them to some lover of reading,
w 7 ho, less fortunate than yourself, is unable to expend
much money with the booksellers.
I have often wondered to see a fair young stranger
sitting day after day, idle and listless in the drawing-
room of a hotel, when she might have known that
there w T ere bookstores in the immediate neighbourhood.
If, while in your possession, a borrowed book is
irreparably injured, it is your duty to replace it by
purchasing for the owner another copy. And, if that
cannot be procured, all you can do is to buy a work of
equal value, and to present that, as the only .compen-
sation in your power. Observe the same rule with all
borrowed articles, lost or injured. The lender is
surely not the person to suffer from the carelessness
of the borrower. Leave no borrowed books in the
way of children, and never give a young child a book
to play with. Eat no cake or fruit over an open
book, lest it be greased or stained. And take care
Dot to blister or spoil the binding by putting.it down
in a wet place, for instance, on a slopped table.
Some young ladies have a bad habit of biting their
fingers, especially if they rejoice in handsome hands ;
and the same ladies, by way of variety, are prone to
• BORROWING. 239
bite the corners of books, and the edges of closed fans.
So it is dangerous to trust these articles in their
vicinity. We have seen the corners of an elegant
Annual nearly bitten off at a centre-table in the
course of one evening. And we have seen ice-cream
eaten and wine drank over an open port-folio of
By-the-bye, in taking up a print to look at it, always
extend it carefully with both hands, that the paper may
be in no danger of cracking or rumpling, which it
cannot escape if held but in one hand, particularly if
there is a breeze blowing near it. To show a large
engraving without risk of injury, spread it out smoothly
on a table ; keeping it flat by means of books or other
weights, laid carefully down on the corners, and, if the
plate is very large, at the sides also. And let no one
lean their elbows upon it.
, It is an irksome task to show any sort of picture to
people wfco have neither taste, knowledge, nor enjoy-
ment of the art. There are persons (ungenteel ones,
it is true) who seem to have no other pleasure, when
looking at a fine print or picture, than in trying^to
discover in the figures or faces, fancied resemblances
to those of some individuals of their own circle :
loudly declaring for instance, that, " Queen Victoria is
the very image of Sarah Smith;" " Prince Albert an
exact likeness of Dick Brown ;" "the Duke of Welling-
ton the very ditto of old Captain Jones," &c. &c. To
those "who have no painting in their souls," there is
little use in showing or explaining any fine specimen
of that noblest cf the fine arts. We have heard a
240 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOlfh LOOK.
gentleman doubting whether a capital portrait of
Franklin was not General Washington in his every-
day dress. We could fill pages with the absurd re-
marks we have heard on pictures, even from persons
who have had a costly education put at them. There are
ladies who can with difficulty be made to understand
the difference between a painting and an engraving —
others who think that " the same man always makes
both." Some call a coloured print a painting — others
talk* of themselves fainting pictures in albums — not
understanding that, properly speaking, they are water-
colour drawings when done on paper and with transpa-
rent tintings — while pictures are painted with oil or
opaque colours on canvas or board. Frescoes are
painted on new walls before the plastering is quite
dry, so that the colours incorporate at once with the
plaster, and dry along with it; acquiring in that
manner a surprising permanency.
There is another very common error, that fcf calling
* We were a few years since, told by one of our principal book-
sellers that a young lady came into his store when he chanced to
be at the counter himself, and, showing him a small English prayer-
book elegantly bound, and with fine engravings, she enquired if he
had any exactly like that. On his replying in the negative, she
desired that he would get precisely such a prayer-book made for
her, in time for church on Sunday morning — (it was then Friday)
— as she had set her mind on it. It must have just such pictures,
and just such a beautiful gilt cover. He endeavoured in vain to
convince her of the utter impossibility of performing this feat of
having one single book printed, and bound, with plates engraved
purposely for it, and all in the space of a day and a half. She
seemed much displeased, and went away, in search, as she said,
of a bookseller that was more obliging.
a diorama a panorama. A panorama, correctly speak-
ing, is a large circular representation of one place only,
(such as Koine, Athens, Thebes, Paris,) comprising as
much as the eye can take in at a view. The spec-
tators, looking from an elevated platform in the centre,
see the painting all around them in every direction,
and appearing the size of reality, but always stationary.
The panoramas exhibited successively in London by
Barker, Burford, Catherwood and others, are admi-
rable and truthful views of the places they represent ;
and after viewing them a few minutes, you can
scarcely believe that you are not actually there, and
looking at real objects. A few of these triumphs of
perspective and colouring, have been brought to Ame-
rica. It were much to be wished that an arrange-
ment could be made for conveying every one of these
fine panoramas successively across the Atlantic, and
exhibiting them in all our principal cities. It would
be a good speculation.
It is difficult to imagine whence originated the
mistake of calling a diorama a panorama, which it
is not. A diorama is one of those numerous flat-
surface paintings of which we have had so many, (and
some few of them very good,) and which, moving on
unseen rollers, glide or slide along, displaying every
few minutes a new portion of the scenery.
The error has grown so common that persons fall
habitually into it, though knowing all the time that it
?s an error. To correct it, let the exhibiters of dio-
ramas cease to call them 'panoramas, and give them
their proper name, both in their advertisements and
242 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
m their verbal descriptions. Scbron's magnificent
representation of the departure of the Israelites, that
looked so amazingly real, was not a diorama, for it
did not move, and not a panorama, for it was not cir-
cular. But it was a colossal picture, so excellent
that at the first glance it seemed to be no picture at
all, but the real scene, with the real people.
OFFENCES. 24 'f
If the visits of an acquaintance become less fre-
quent than formerly, the falling off is not always to
be imputed to want of regard for you, or to having
lost all pleasure in your society. The cause may be
want of time, removal to a distance, precarious health,
care of children, absence from town, family troubles,
depressed fortunes, and various other circumstances.
Also, with none of these causes, visiting may gradually
and almost insensibly decline, and neither of the
parties have the slightest dislike to each other. If no
offence has been intended, none should be taken ; and
when you chance to meet, instead of consuming the
time in complaints of estrangement, meet as if your
intercourse had never been interrupted, and you will
find it very easy to renew it ; and perhaps on a better
footing than before. The renewal should be marked
by a prompt interchange of special invitations —
followed by visits.
Unless your rooms are spacious, you cannot have
what is called a large general party. Some of your
acquaintances must be omitted, and all that are left
out. are generally offended. Therefore it is not well
-II miss Leslie's behaviour bc
ever to have such parties, unless your accommodations
arc ample. Squeezes are out of fashion in the
American society. We have heard of parties at great
houses in London, where, after the rooms were crowded
to suffocation, a large portion of the company had tc
pass the evening on the stairs; and where coaches,
unable to draw up from the immense number of these
vehicles that were in advance, had to remain all night
at the foot of the line, with ladies sitting in them.
When morning came, they had to turn back, and
drive home, the carriages being all they saw of tho
It is better to give two or three moderate enter-
tainments in the course of the season, than to crowd
your rooms uncomfortably; and even then to risk
giving offence to those who could not be added to the
If such offence has been given, try to atone for it
by inviting the offended to dine with you, or to pass
an evening, and asking at the same time a few pleasant
people whom you know she likes.
You may have a very intimate and sincere friend
who does not find it convenient to send for you every
time she has company. If, in all things else, she
treats you with uniform kindness, and gives reason
to believe that she has a true affection for you, pass
over these occasional omissions of invitation, and
do not call her to account, or treat her coolly
when you see her. True friendship ought not de-
pend upon parties. It should be based on a better
If no answer is returned to a note of invitation, be
not hasty in supposing that the omission has sprung
from rudeness or neglect. Trust that your friend is
neither rude nor neglectful; and believe that the an-
swer was duly sent, but that it miscarried from some
A friend may inadvertently say something that
you do not like to hear, or may make a remark that
is 'not pleasant to you. Unless it is prefaced with a
previous apology; or unless she desires you "not to
be offended at what she is going to say;" or unless
she informs. you that "she considers it her duty always
to speak her mind," — you have no right to suppose the
offence premeditated, and therefore you should restrain
your temper, and calmly endeavour to convince her
that she is wrong; or else acknowledge that she is
right. She ought then to apologize for what she said,
and you should immediately change the subject, and
never again refer to it. In this way quarrels may be
prevented, and ill-feeling crushed in the bud'. When
what is called "a coolness" takes place between
friends, the longer it goes on the more difficult it is
to get over. But "better late than never." If, on
consideration, you find that you were in the wrong,
let no false pride, no stubborn perverseness prevent
you from making that acknowledgement. If your
friend, on her part, first shows a desire for reconcili-
ation, meet her half-way. A vindictive disposition is
a bad one, and revenge is a most unchristian feeling.
People of sense (unless the injury is very great, and
of lasting consequences) are easy to appease, because
246 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
they generally have good feelings, and know how to
listen to reason. Dr. Watts most truly says —
"The wise will let their anger cool,
At least before 'tis night ;
But in the bosom of a fool,
It burns till morning light."
Should you chance to be thrown into the presence
of persons who have proved themselves your enemies,
and with whom you can have no intercourse, say
nothing either to them or at them ; and do not place
yourself in their vicinity. To talk at a person, is
mean and vulgar. Those who do it are fully capable
of writing anonymous and insulting letters ; and they
often do so. High-minded people will always be
scrupulously careful in observing toward those with
whom they are at variance, all the ceremonies usual
in polite society — particularly the conventional civili-
ties of the table.
If you have, unfortunately, had a quarrel with a
friend, talk of it to others as little as possible ; lest in
the heat of anger, you may give an exaggerated ac-
count, and represent your adversary in darker colours
than she deserves. You may be very sure these mis-
representations will reach her ear, and be greatly
magnified by every successive relater. In this way a
trifle may be swelled into importance ; a mole-hill may
become a mountain ; and a slight affront may embitter
the feelings of future years. "Blessed are the peace-
makers," — and a mutual friend, if well-disposed toward
both opponents, generally has it in her power to effect
a reconciliation, by repeating, kindly, any favourable
remark she may chance to have heard one of the
offended parties make on the other. In truth, we
wish it were the universal custom for all people to tell
other people whatever good they may hear of them — ■
instead of the wicked and hateful practice of telling
only the bad. Make it a rule to repeat to your friends
all the pleasant remarks that (as far as you know) are
made on them, and you will increase their happiness,
and your own popularity. We do not mean that you
should flatter them, by reciting compliments that are
not true; but truth is not flattery, and there is no
reason why agreeable truths should not always be
told. There would then be far more kind feeling in
the world. Few persons are so bad as not to have
some good in them. Let them hear of the good.
Few are so ugly as not to have about them something
commendable even externally, if it is only a becoming
dress. Let them hear of that dress. Flattery is
A raise without foundation. To tell a person with
heavy, dull gray eyes, that her eyes are of a bright
and beautiful blue; to talk of her golden locks to a
woman with positive red hair of the tint called
carroty; to tell a long, thin, stoop-shouldered girl,
that she possesses the light and airy form of a sylph;
or a short-necked, fat one 'that her figure has the
dignity of an empress; to assure a faded matron
that she looks like a young girl; to fall into rap-
tures on listening to bad music, or when viewing a
drawing that depicts nothing intelligible ; or praising
album poetry that has neither " rhyme nor reason,"—
miss Leslie's behaviour book.
all tlus is gross flattery, which the object (if she lias
any sense) will easily detect, and suspect that you are
trying experiments on her vanity and credulity.
Still where agreeable qualities really exist, it is not
amiss to allude to them delicately. It will give plea-
sure without compromising veracity.
When any thing complimentary is said to you,
acknowledge it by a bow and smile, but do not at-
tempt an answer unless you can say something in
return that will be equally sincere and pleasant.
Most probably you cannot; therefore look gratified,
and bow your thanks, but remain silent. Few ladies
are distinguished, like the Harriet Byron of Grandi-
son, " for a very pretty manner of returning a com-
pliment." Do not reject the compliment by pretend-
ing to prove that you cfo not deserve it. But if it is
a piece of bare-faced flattery, the best answer is to look
gravely, and say or do nothing.
Should you chance accidentally to overhear a re-
mark to your disadvantage, consider first if there may
not be some truth in it. If you feel that there is, turn
it to profitable account, and try to improve, or to get
rid of the fault, whatever it may be. But never show
resentment at any thing not intended for your ear.
unless it is something of such vital importance as to
render it necessary that you should come forward in
self-defence. These instances, however, are of .rare
Jf you are so placed that you can hear the con-
versation of persons who are talking abjut you,
it is very mean to sit there and listen, lmme
diately remove to a distance far enough to be out of
It is a proverb that listeners seldom hear any good
of themselves. It were a pity if they should. Eaves-
dropping or listening beneath an open window, the
crack of a door, or through a key-hole, are as dis-
honourable as to pick pockets.
k J50 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
obligations to gentlemeh.
In her intercourse with gentlemen, a lady should
take care to avoid all pecuniary obligations. The civi-
lity that a gentleman conventionally owes to a lady is
a sufficient tax — more she has no right to expect, or to
accept. A man of good sense, and of true politeness,
will not be offended at her unwillingness to become his
debtor. On the contrary, he will respect her delicacy,
and approve her dignity ; and consent at once to her
becoming her own banker on all occasions where ex-
pense is to be incurred. This is the custom in
Europe ; and is, in most cases, a very good one.
When invited to join a party to a place of amuse-
ment, let her consent, if she wishes ; but let her state
expressly that it is only on condition of being per-
mitted to pay for her own ticket. If she steadily
adheres to this custom, it will soon be understood that
such is always her commendable practice; and she
can then, with perfect propriety, at any time, ask for
a seat among friends who intend going. To this
accommodation she could not invite herself, if in the
continual habit of visiting public places at the ex-
pense of others. The best time for a lady to pay for
herself is to put her money into the hand of the gen-
OBLIGATIONS TO GENTLEMEN. '261
tleman previous to their departure for the place of
performance. He will not be so rude as to refuse to
take it. If he does refuse, she should evince her re-
sentment by going with him no more.
Young men of limited means are frequently drawn
into expenses they can ill afford, by being acquainted
with young ladies who profess a passion for equestrian
exercises — a most inconvenient passion for one who
has not a horse of her own, or who lives in a family
where no horses are kept. If her gentleman is
obliged to hire, not only a horse for himself, but also
one for the lady, let her have sufficient consideration
not to propose to him that they should take rides
together — and let her not draw him into an invitation,
by her dwelling excessively on the delight of horse-
back excursions. In cities, these rides are expensive
luxuries to those who keep no horses. Few city ladies
ride well, (even if they have been at riding-school,) for
want of daily practice out of doors. They are not
exactly at ease on the horse, and always seem some-
what afraid of him ; at least till they are " off the
stones," and out in the open country. While in the
streets, the rare sight of a lady on horseback attracts
much attention, and a crowd of boys gathers round to
see her mount her steed, or alight from it. This to a
young lady of delicacy is very embarrassing, or ought
In the country, the case is totally different. There,
"practice makes perfect." The ladies, being ac-
customed to riding their own horses from childhood,
acquire the art without any trouble, have no fear, feel
252 MISS LESLIES BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
perfectly at Lome in the saddle, and therefore sit
gracefully, and manage their steeds easily. And as
every country gentleman has a riding-horse of hi3
•own, he can accompany a lady without the expense of
Lay no wagers with gentlemen, and have no philo-
penas with them. In betting with a lady, it is cus-
tomary for the gentleman to pay whether he wins or
loses. What then does the wager imply, but a rapa-
cious and mean desire on the part of the lady to " get
a present out of him" — as such ladies would express
it. No delicate and refined female ever bets at all.
It is a very coarse and masculine way of asserting an
opinion or a belief; and always reminds gentlemen of
the race-course, or the gaming-table.
We disapprove of ladies going to charity-fairs in the
evening, when they require a male escort — and when
that escort is likely to be drawn into paying exorbi-
tant prices for gifts to his fair companion — particu-
larly, if induced to do so from the fear of appearing
mean, or of being thought wanting in benevolence.
In the evening, the young ladies who "have tables,"
are apt to become especially importunate in urging
the sale of their goods — and appear to great disad-
vantage as imitation-shop-keepers, exhibiting a bold-
ness in teazing that no real saleswoman would pre-
sume to display. Then the crowd is generally great ; the
squeezing and pushing very uncomfortable ; and most
of the company far from genteel. Ladies who are
ladies, should only visit fancy-fairs in the day-time,
when they can go without gentlemen ; none of whom
OBLIGATIONS TO GENTLEMEN. 253
take much pleasure in this mode of raising money ; or
rather of levying contributions for special purposes.
There are other ways that are more lady-like, more
effective, less fatiguing, and more satisfactory to all
concerned — and far less detrimental to the interests
of the numerous poor women who get their living by
their needles, or by their ingenuity in making orna-
mental nick-nacks for sale, and who ask but a fair
price for them. Dress-makers are frequently induced
to keep back portions of silk, the rightful property of
their customers, who may afterwards be put to great
inconvenience for want of them, when the dress is to
be altered or repaired. And these pieces are given to
the ladies who go about begging for materials to make
pincushions, &c. for fancy-fairs. This is dishonest.
Let them go to a store and buy small pieces of silk,
velvet, ribbon, and whatever they want for these
If you have occasion to send by a gentleman a
package to a transportation-office, give him along
with it the money to pay for its carriage. If you
borrow change, (even one cent,) return it to him
punctually. He ought to take it as a thing of course,
without any comment. When you commission him to
buy any thing for you, if you know the price, give the
money beforehand ; otherwise, pay it as soon as he
brings the article. Do all such things promptly, lest
they should escape your memory if delayed.
When visiting a fancy-store with a gentleman, re-
frain from excessively admiring any handsome or
expensive article you may chance to see there. Above
254 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
all, express no wish that you were able to buy it, and
no regret that you cannot, lest he should construe
these extreme tokens of admiration into hints that
you wish him to buy it for you. To allow him to do
so, would on your part be very mean and indelicate,
and on his very foolish.
It ought to be a very painful office (and is a very
improper one) for young ladies to go round soliciting
from gentlemen subscriptions for charitable purposes.
Still it is done. Subscription-papers should only be
offered by persons somewhat advanced in life, and of
undoubted respectability — and then the application
should be made, exclusively, to those whose circum-
stances are known to be affluent. People who have
not much to give, generally prefer giving that little
to objects of charity within their own knowledge.
Who is there that does not know a poor family?
And without actually giving money, (which in too
many instances, is immediately appropriated by a
drunken husband to supply himself with more drink,)
much may be done to procure a few comforts for a
miserable wife and children.
When you ask money for a charitable purpose, do
so only when quite alone with the person to whom
you apply. It is taking an undue advantage to make
the request in presence of others — particularly if, as
before observed, there is not wealth as well as benevo-
lence. There is a time for all things — and young
ladies are deservedly unpopular when, even in the
cause of charity, they seize every opportunity to xevy
contributions on the purses of gentlemen.
OBLIGATIONS TO GENTLEMEN, 255
It is wrons: to trouble gentlemen with commission
that may cause them inconvenience or expense. In
the awful days of bandboxes, unfortunate young men
riding in stages were sometimes required to convey
one of these cumbrous receptacles of bonnets and caps
% day's journey upon their knees, to save it from rain
©utside. Sometimes an immense package containing
an immense shawl. We knew an officer who, by
particular desire, actually carried three great shawls
several hundred miles; each bundle to be delivered at
a different house in "the City of Magnificent Dis-
tances." But as to officers, "sufferance is the badge
of all their tribe." Now these shawls should all have
been sent by the public line, even if the transportation
did cost something.
"We repeat, that a lady cannot be too particular in
placing herself under obligations to a gentleman.
She should scrupulously avoid it in every little thing
that may involve him in expense on her account.
And he will respect her the more.
256 I L'EHAVIOUR BOOK.
CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN.
On being introduced to a female writer, it is rude to
Bay that "you have long had a great curiosity to see
her." Curiosity is not the right word. It is polite to
imply that, "knowing her well by reputation, you are
glad to have an opportunity of making her personal
acquaintance." Say nothing concerning her writings,
unless you chance to be alone with her. Take care
not to speak of her first work as being her best; for
if it is really so, she must have been retrograding
from that time ; a falling off that she will not like to
hear of. Perhaps the truth may be, that you your-
self nave read only her first work ; and if you tell her
this, she will not be much flattered in supposing that
you, in reality, cared so little for her first book, as to
feel no desire to try a second. But she will be really
gratified to learn that you are acquainted with most
of her writings ; and, in the course of conversation, it
will be very pleasant for her to hear you quote some-
thing from them.
If she is a writer of fiction, and you presume to
take the liberty of criticising her works, (as you may
at her own request, or if you are her intimate friend.)
refrain from urging that certain incidents are improha-
CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN
ble, and certain characters unnatural. Of this it is
impossible for you to judge, unless you could have
lived the very same life that she has ; known exactly
the same people; and inhabited with her the same
places. Remember always that "Truth is stranger
than fiction." The French say — "Le vrai n'est pas
toujours le plus vraisemblable," — which, literally trans-
lated, means that "Truth is not always the most truth-
like." Also, be it understood that a woman of quick
perception and good memory can see and recollect a
thousand things which would never be noticed or
remembered by an obtuse or shallow, common-place
capacity. And the intellect of a good writer of fiction
is always brightened by the practice of taking in and
laying up ideas with a view toward turning them to
professional use. Trust in her, and believe that she
has painted from life. A sensible fictionist always
does. At the same time, be not too curious in
questioning her as to the identity of her personages
and the reality of her incidents. You have no right
to expect that she will expose to you, or to any one
else, her process of arranging the story, bringing out
the characters, or concocting the dialogue. The
machinery of her work, and the hidden springs which
set it in motion, she naturally wishes to keep to her-
self; and she cannot be expected to lay them bare for
the gratification of impertinent curiosity, letting them
become subjects of idle gossip. Be satisfied to take
her works as you find them. If you like them, read
and commend them; but do not ask her to conduct
you behind the scenes, and show you the mysteries of
258 MIS> LESLIE S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
nor art — for writing is really an art, and one that
cannot bo acquired, to any advantage, without a cer-
tain amount of talent, taste, and cultivation, to say
nothing of genius. What right have you to expect-
that your literary friend will trust you with "the
secrets of her prison-house," and put it into your
power to betray her confidence by acquainting the
world that a certain popular novelist has informed
you with her own lips ("but it must on no account be
mentioned, as the disclosure would give mortal offence,
and create for her hosts of enemies,") that by her
character of Fanny Gadfly she really means Lucy
Giddings; that Mr. Hardcastle signifies Mr. Stone;
that Old Wigmore was modelled on no less a person
than Isaac Baldwin; that Mrs. Bashings was taken
from Mrs. Sunning ; and Mrs. Babes from Mrs. Chil-
ders — &c. &c. Also, do not expect her to tell you on
what facts her incidents were founded, and whether
there was any truth in them, or if they were mere
Be not inquisitive as to the length of time con-
sumed in writing this book or that — or how soon the
work now on hand will be finished. It can scarcely
be any concern of yours, and the writer may have rea-
sons for keeping back the information. Rest assured
that whenever a public announcement of a new book
is expedient, it will certainly be made in print.
There are persons so rude as to question a literary
woman (even on a slight acquaintance) as to the re-
muneration she receives for her writings — in plain
terms, "How much did you get for that? and how
CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN, 259
much are you to have for this ? And how much do
you make in the course of a year ? And how much a,
page do you get? And how many pages can you
write in a day ?"
To any impertinent questions from a stranger-lady
concerning the profits of your pen, reply concisely,
that these things are secrets between yourself and
your publishers. If you kindly condescend to answer
without evasion, these polite enquiries, you will pro-
bably hear such exclamations as, " Why, really — you
must be coining money. I think I'll write books
myself! There can't be a better trade," &c.
Ignorant people always suppose that popular writers
are wonderfully well-paid — and must be making rapid
fortunes — because they neither starve in garrets, nor
wear rags — at least in America.
Never ask one writer what is her real opinion of a
cotemporary author. She may be unwilling to entrust
it to you, as she can have no guarantee that you will
not whisper it round till it gets into print. If she
voluntarily expresses her own opinion of another
writer, and it is unfavourable, be honourable enough
not to repeat it; but guard it sedulously from be-
trayal, and avoid mentioning it to any one.
When in company with literary women, make no
allusions to "learned ladies," or "blue stockings," or
express surprise that they should have any knowledge
of housewifery, or needle-work, or dress ; or that they
are able to talk on "common things." It is rude and
foolish, and shows that you really know nothing about
them, either as a class or as individuals.
260 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
Never tell an authoress that "you are afraid of
her" — or entreat her " not to put you into a book."
Be assured there is no danger.
An authoress has seldom leisure to entertain morn-
ing visiters ; so much of her time being professionally
occupied either in writing, or in reading what will
prepare her for writing. She should apprize all her
friends of the hours in which she is usually engaged ;
and then none who are really her friends and well-
wishers, will encroach upon her convenience for any
purpose of their own ; unless under extraordinary
circumstances. To tell her that you were "just pass-
ing by," or "just in the neighbourhood," and "just
thought you would stop in," is a very selfish, or at
least a very inconsiderate excuse. Is she to suppose
that you do not consider her conversation worthy of a
visit made on purpose ?
Recollect that to a woman who gets her living by
her pen, "time is money," as it is to an artist.
Therefore, encroaching on her time is lessening her
income. And yet how often is this done (either
heedlessly or selfishly) by persons professing to be
her friends, and who are habitually in the practice of
interrupting her in her writing hours, which should
always be in the morning, if possible. They think
it sufficient to say, like Paul Pry, " I hope I don't
intrude" — knowing all the time that they do, and pre-
tending to believe her when civility obliges her to tell
them they do not. Even if the visit is not a long one,
it is still an interruption. In one minute it may break
a chain of ideas which cannot be reunited, dispel
CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN. 201
thoughts that can never be recalled, disturb the con
struction of a sentence, and obliterate a recollection
that will not return. And to all this the literary lady
must submit, because her so-called friend "chanced to
be out that morning shopping" — or "happened to be
visiting in that part of the town" — and therefore has
called on her by way of "killing two birds with one
stone." Yery likely, the visiter will say to the unfor-
tunate visited, " I know it is inconvenient to you to see
your friends in the morning, but I never feel like going
out in the afternoon. As soon as dinner is over I must
have my nap ; and by the time that is finished, it is too
late for any thing else."
In consequence of these ill-timed visits, the printer
may have to send in vain for " copy" that is not yet
ready ; and an article written expressly for a maga-
zine may arrive too late for the next month, and be
therefore deferred a month later, which may subject
her not only to inconvenience, but to actual pecuniary
loss — loss of money. Or, at least, the interruption
may compel her to the painful effort of trying to
finish it even by sitting up late at night, and straining
her weary eyes by lamp-light. Yet this she must
endure because it suits an idle and thoughtless friend
to make her a long and inopportune visit. The chil-
dren of the pen and the pencil might say to these
intruders, like the frogs in the pond when the boys
were pelting them with stones — " This may be sport
to you, but it is death to us."
If, when admitted into her study, you should find
her writing-table in what appears to you like great
2G2 '8 BEHAVIOUB
confusion, recollect that there is really no wit in a
remark too common on such occasions, — " Why, you
look quite littery" — a poor, play on the words lit>
and litter. In all probability, she knows precisely
where to lay her hand upon every paper on the table :
having in reality placed them exactly to suit her con-
venience. Though their arrangement may be quite
unintelligible to the uninitiated, there is no doubt
method (her own method, at least) in their apparent
disorder. It is not likely she may have time to put
her, writing table in nice-looking order every day. To
h&ve it done by servants is out of the question, as tliey
would make " confusion worse confounded;" being of
course unable to comprehend how such a table should
If you chance to find an authoress occupied with
her needle, express no astonishment, and refrain from
exclaiming, "What! can you sew?" or, "I never
supposed a literary lady could even hem a hand-
This is a false, and if expressed in words, an insulting
idea. A large number of literary females are excel-
lent needle-women, and good housewives ; and there
is no reason why they should not be. The same
vigour of character and activity of intellect which
renders a woman a good writer, will also. enable her to
acquire with a quickness, almost intuitive, a competent
knowledge of household affairs, and of the art of needle-
work. And she will find, upon making the attempt,
that, with a little time and a little perseverance, she
may become as notable a personage (both in theory
CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN. 203
and practice) as if she had never read a hook, or
written a page.
The Dora of David Copperfield is an admirable
illustration of the fact that a silly, illiterate woman
may he the worst of housewives. Dickens has un-
questionably painted this character exactly from life.
But that he always does. He must have known a
Dora. And who has not ?
If you find your literary friend in deshabille, and
she apologizes for it — (she had best not apologize) — tell
her not that " authoresses are privileged persons, ant
are never expected to p*ay any attention to dress."
Now, literary slatterns are not more frequent than
slatterns who are not literary. It is true that women
of enlarged minds, and really good taste, do not think
it necessary to follow closely all the • changes and
follies of fashion, and to wear things that are incon-
venient, uncomfortable, and unbecoming, merely be-
cause milliners, dress-makers, &c. have pronounced
them " the last new style."
It is ill-manners to refer in any way to the profes-
sion of the person to whom you are talking, unless
that person is an intimate friend, and you are alone
with her ; and unless she herself begins the subject.
Still worse, to allude to their profession as if you sup-
posed it rendered them different from the rest of the
world, and marked them with peculiarities from which
other people are exempt.
It is true that authorlings and poetizers are apt to
affect eccentricity. Real authors, and even real poets,
(by real we mean good ones,) have generally a large
264 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
portion of common sense to balance their genius, and
are therefore seldom guilty of the queerncsses unjustly
imputed to the whole fraternity.
"When in company with a literary lady with whom
you are not on very confidential terms, it is bad taste
to talk to her exclusively of books, and to endeavour
to draw out her opinion of authors with whom she is
personally acquainted — and whom she will, of course,
be unwilling to criticise, (at least in miscellaneous
society,) lest her remarks should be invidiously or im-
prudently repeated, and even get into print. "Any
thing new in the literary world ?" is a question by
which some people always commence conversation
with an author. Why should it be supposed that they
always "carry the shop along with them," or that they
take no interest or pleasure in things not connected
with books. On the contrary, they are glad to be
allowed the privilege of unbending like other people.
And a good writer is almost always a good talker,
and fully capable of conversing well on various sub-
jects. Try her.
It was beautifully said of Jane Taylor, the charm-
ing author of a popular and never-tiring little book of
"Original Poems for Children," that "you only knew
that the stream of literature had passed over her mind
by the fertility it left behind it."
We have witnessed, when two distinguished lady-
writers chanced to be at the same party, an unman-
nerly disposition to "pit them against each other" —
placing them side by side, or vis-a-vis, and saying
something about, "When Greek meets Greek," &c,
CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN. 26o
and absolutely collecting a circle round them, to be
amused or edified by the expected dialogue. This is
rude and foolish.
It is not treating a talented woman with due con-
sideration, to be active in introducing to her the
silliest and flattest people in the room, because the
said flats have been worked up into a desire of seeing,
face to face, " a live authoress" — though in all proba-
bility they have not read one of her works.
That notorious lion-hunter, the Countess of Cork, was
so candid as to say to certain celebrated writers, " I'll
sit by you because you are famous." To a very charm-
ing American lady whom she was persuading to come to
her party, she frankly added, " My dear, you really
must not refuse me. Don't you know you are my
There are mothers (called pattern-mothers) who
uphold the theory that every thing in the world must
bend to the advantage (real or supposed) of children,
that is, of their own children — and who have continu-
ally on their lips the saying, " a mother's first duty is
to her children." So it is, and it is her duty not to
render them vain, impertinent, conceited,' and obtru-
sive, by allowing them to suppose that they must on
all occasions be brought forward; and that their
mother's visiters have nothing to do but to improve
and amuse them. Therefore a literary lady often re-
ceives a more than hint from such a mother to talk
only on edifying subjects when the dear little crea-
tures are present ; and then the conversation is re-
quired to take a Penny-Magazine tone, exclusively —
268 miss Leslie's behavioui
the darlings being, most probably, restless and impa-
tient all the time, the girls sitting uneasily on
chairs and looking tired, and the boys suddenly bolt-
ing out of the room to get back to their sports. It is
true the children will be less impatient if the visiter
will t ^uble herself to "tell them stories" all the time;
but u is rude to ask her to do so.
When directing a letter to "a woman of letters," it
is not considered polite to insert the word "Authoress"
after her name. And yet we have seen this done by
persons who ought to know better. If you are unac-
quainted with the number and street of her residence,
direct to the care of her publisher; whose place you
may always find, by referring to the title-page of one
of her last works, and by seeing his advertisements in
the newspapers. The booksellers always know where
their authors are to be found. So do the printers —
for their boys convey the proof-sheets.
Observe that the term "learned lady" is not cor-
rectly applied to a female, unless she has successfully
cultivated what is understood to be the learning of
colleges — for instance, the dead languages, &c. Un-
fortunately, the term is now seldom used but in deri-
sion, and to denote a woman whose studies have been
entirely of the masculine order. You may speak of a
well-informed, well-read, talented, intellectual, accom-
plished lady; but call her not learned, unless she is
well-versed in the Greek and Latin classics, and able
to discuss them from their original lancrua^e. Even
then, spare her the appellation of learned, if gentle-
men are present. In the dark ages, when not every
• CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN. £6T
iady could read and write, the few that were entitled
to the "benefit of clergy," frequently " drank deep in
tasting the Pierian spring," and proceeded to study
the learned languages with great success ; for instance,
Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth.
In desiring the autograph of a literary lady, do not
expect her to write in your album " a piece of poetry."
Be satisfied with her signature only. There is a spice
of meanness in requesting from her, as a gift, any
portion of her stock in trade. As well might you ask
Mr. Stewart, or Mr. Levy, to present you with an
embroidered collar, or a pair of gloves. For the same
reason, never request an artist to "draw something"
in your album. It is only amateur poets, and ama-
teur artists, that can afford to write and draw in
albums. Those who make a living by their pro-
fession, have no time to spare for gratuitous perform-
ances; and it is as wrong to ask them, as it is to
invite public singers to " favour the company with a
song" at private parties, where they are invited as
guests. It is, however, not unusual for professional
musicians to kindly and politely gratify the company
by inviting themselves to sing; saying, "Perhaps you
would like to hear my last song." And sometimes, if
quite "in the vein," a real poet, when modestly asked
for merely his signature, will voluntarily add a few
lines of verse. But do not expect it.
There are pretty little books of fine paper, hand-
somely bound, that are used for the purpose of con-
taining signature autographs; one on each page. A
lady owning such a book, can send it to any distin-
2G8 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
guished person of whose hand-writing she wishes to
possess a specimen.
When the name at the bottom of a letter is shown
to you as an autograph, it is rude to take the letter
into your own hand, and read the whole, or even to
glance your eye over it. It is not intended that you
shall see any thing hut the signature.
We will now address a few words to beginners in
the art of writing, with reference to their intercourse
with women of well-established literary reputation
If these ladies of decided standing in the republic of
letters have sufficient leisure, they will generally be
very kind in assisting with their counsel a young aspi-
rant, who shows any evidence of talent for the pro-
fession. Unluckily, too many novices in the art,
mistake a mere desire to get into print, for that rarest
of gifts — genius. And without genius, there is no
possibility of gaining by the pen, either fame, or
Long manuscripts are frequently sent for the revisal
"at leisure" of a person who has little or no leisure.
Yet in the intervals of toiling for herself, she is
expected to toil for some one else; probably for a
stranger whom she does not know, in whom she can
take no interest, and who has evidently "no writing
in her soul." If, however, the modest request is
kindly complied with, in all probability the corrections
will only give offence, and may perhaps be crossed out
before the manuscript is offered to the publisher, who
very likely may reject it for want of these very cor-
rections. We have known such incidents.
Conduct to literary women 269
The least talented of the numerous females pre-
tending to authorship, are generally the most con-
ceited and the most obtrusive. They are frequently
very great annoyances to women "well-up the ladder,"
who are expected, in many instances, not only to re-
vise the manuscript, but immediately to find a pur-
chaser for it — a purchaser of high rank among
publishers — one who will bring it out handsomely,
ensure it an immense circulation, pay promptly,
and pay as much as is given to the standard
authors. And besides being desired to "get it pub-
lished," the reviser of the manuscript will, perhaps,
be requested to correct the proofs; that is, if the
literary novice should chance to know what proof-
The work thus arrogantly thrust upon the time
and attention of a deservedly-popular writer may be
a book of "sweet poetry," on weak, worn-out, com-
mon-place subjects, done into feeble, halting, ill-
rhyming verses, such as few read, and none re-
member. Or the aspirant after fame, may have
chosen the easier path of prose, and produced a
fiction without fancy, a novel without novelty, "a
thrilling tale" that thrills nobody, a picture of fashion-
able life after no fashion that ever existed, or u a
pathetic story of domestic life," neither pathetic nor
Yet if a practised and successful author ventures to
pronounce an unfavourable verdict on such produc-
tions, because the writer desired her candid opinion,
she will probably light up a flame of resentment, that
270 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
may never be extinguished, and make an enemy for
life; the objections being imputed to "sheer envj, '
and to a malignant design of " extinguishing a rising
A sufficient introduction to a publisher is to send
him the manuscript, accompanied by a note request-
ing his opinion as soon as convenient. If he ap-
proves it, and believes it will be profitable, there is no
doubt of his being willing to print the work. And if
he thinks he shall make nothing by it, it is equally
certain that he will decline the offer. It is too much
to expect that he will be so regardless of his own
interest as to publish a book, the sale of which will
not remunerate him for the cost of paper and
Ladies who live in the same house with an authoress,
nave opportunities enough of seeing her in the parlour,
and at table ; therefore they may dispense with visit-
ing her in her own room. Spare her all interruptions 1
of applying for the loan of books, paper, pens, ink, &c
Do not expect that, because she writes, she must neces-
sarily keep a free circulating library, or a gratuitous
stationer's shop. Supply yourself with all such con-
veniences from the regular sources. Buy them, and
pay for them, instead of troubling one who has not
time to be troubled. Above all, refrain from the
meanness of asking her to lend you any book written
by herself. If she volunteers the loan, then receive
it thankfully ; and take care to return it speedily, and
in good condition. It is her interest, and the interest
of her publishers, that a large number of copies shal'
CONDUCT TO LITERARY WOMEN. 271
be sold; not lent, or given away. Many persons er-
roneously suppose that an author has always on hand
an unlimited number of her own books ; or that the
publisher will kindly give her as many as she can
want for herself and friends. This is by no means
the case. It is usual, when the first edition comes out,
for the publisher to send the author half a dozen
copies of the book, or a dozen, if it is a small one.
After that, if she wants any more, she is expected to
to buy them of the bookseller. Therefore, she has
none to give away, except to members of her own
family, or to friends whose circumstances will not
permit them to expend money in books, and who
have an ardent love for reading without the means
of gratifying it. We have known ladies, possessing
diamonds and India shawls, and living in splendid
houses, ask the author for the loan of a cookery-book,
with the avowed purpose of " copying out the best
Apropos to cookery-books : — If you have faithfully
followed a receipt, and the result is not quite satisfac-
tory, there is nothing amiss in your acquainting the
writer with that fact, provided it is a fact. On the
contrary, you may do her a kindness, by enabling her
to detect an error in the directions, and to rectify that
error in a future edition.
Women often assert that the receipt was not a good
one, and that upon trial it proved a failure, when, on
investigation, you will find that, from false economy,
some of the ingredients were left out ; or the relative
proportions diminished in quantity — too much of the
cheapest articles being put in, and not enough of the
more costly. Or else, that sufficient time and pains
were not bestowed on the mixing and preparing ; or
that the thing was not sufficiently cooked.
By-the-bye, remember that a receipt for cookery, is
not to be called a recipe. The word recipe belongs
to pharmacy, and is only used with reference to medi-
cal prescriptions. The cook uses receipts, the apothe-
Whatever article you may wish to borrow from an
inmate of the same house, apply first to persons
whose time is of comparatively small importance to
them, before you disturb and interrupt a literary lady.
Do not trouble her for the loan of umbrellas, over-
shoes, hoods, calashes, &c, or send to her for small
We once lived in a house where coal-fires were
scarce, and wood-fires plenty. Our own fire-arrange-
ment was wood in a Franklin stove, and no other per-
son in the house was the fortunate owner of a pair of
bellows. Liking always to be comfortable, we had
bought a pair for ourselves.
Ten times a day we were disturbed by a knock at
the door, from a coloured girl who came " a-borr owing '
this implement to revive the fire of some other room.
She called it by a pleasing variety of names — running
through all the vowels. Sometimes she wanted the
bellowsas; sometimes the bellowses; or the bellowsis,
the bellowsos, or the bellowsi^ s. These frequent inter-
ruptions, with others that were similar, became a real
grievance. We thought* it would cost us less to pre-
CONDUCT TO LITFKAEY WOMEN. 273
Bent the bellows to the house, and buy another pair
for ourselves. We did so — but very soon the first
pair was somehow missing, and our own was again in
Since that winter we have burnt anthracite, and
therefore have no bellowsa* to lend.
!74 Leslie's behaviour book.
SUGGESTIONS TO INEXPERIENCED AUTHORS.
There is some economy and much convenience in
buying your paper by the ream, (twenty quires,) having
first tried a sample. The surface of the paper should
be smooth, and somewhat glossy ; particularly if you
write with metallic pens. That which is soft and
spongy, though a little lower in price, wears out the
pen so fast that what is saved in paper is lost in pens ;
also, there is no possibility of writing on it with ease
and expedition. You will find it best to use paper
ruled in lines. If you write a large hand, take fools-
cap ; if a small hand, use letter-paper size. But note-
paper is too small, when you are writing for the press.
Before you commence your manuscript, take a
quire, and prepare each sheet by splitting it all down
the folded side, with a sharp paper-cutter, thus divid-
ing it into half-sheets. You can do this better on a
flat table than on the slope of a desk. Keep your
left hand pressing down hard on the quire, while you
are cutting it with your right.
The best paper-cutters are those of real ivory. A
handle is of no advantage to them, but rather the con-
trarv. They should be thin, plain, and perfectly
SUGGESTIONS TO INEXPERIENCED AUTHORS. 275
straight, except being rounded off at the two ends.
Ivory paper-knives of this form are generally used by
the book-binders, an evidence that they are convenient
and expeditious. Those of bone or horn are scarcely
worth buying, though but half the price ; the edges
soon becoming blunt, and therefore useless. Wooden
paper-knives are good for nothing. Paper-knives of
mother of pearl, and other ornamental substances, are
of little utility, being rarely sharp enough, (even when
new,) and in a short time becoming quite dull. Also,
they break very easily. Avoid cutting a sheet of
paper, or the leaves of a book, with scissors ; it is com-
paratively a slow and awkward process ; and cannot,
even with great care, be effected as smoothly and
evenly as with a cutter of ivory.
Before you split or divide the sheet, press the
paper-knife all along the fold, so as to flatten the
crease, and make it cut evenly and easily. Having
split your whole sheets into leaves or half-sheets, take
each half-sheet separately, and fold over an inch or
more all along the left-hand edge ; - so as to leave
a margin or space for sewing the manuscript when
finished. Do this with the paper-knife. Lay a pile of
these half-sheets beside you when you sit down to
write, and take them as you want them.
Write only on one side of the paper. If written on
both sides, it will cause trouble and inconvenience to
the printers, by obliging them to turn over at the end
of every page. This rule, however, may be dis-
pensed with, when a manuscript is so short that it
may be comprised in one sheet, and is to be trans-
miss Leslie's behaviour book.
raitted by mail. This may be the more easily ma-
naged, by drawing with a pencil or pen a straight per-
pendicular line down the middle of each page, so as to
divide it into columns. When it is finished, enclose it
in an envelope, direct, and seal it, and put on a post-
office stamp. If the manuscript occupies two or three
sheets, put two or three stamps side by side. There
are large envelopes that will hold foolscap paper, pro-
Do not use blue ink ; for if any part of your manu-
script should chance to get wet, there is a risk of the
blue ink being effaced or obliterated by the damp, so
as to render the writing illegible ; and this has fre-
Let your writing be large enough, and plain enough
to be read with ease, and the compositor will be less
likely to make mistakes. Printers, though accus-
tomed to read all sorts of writing, are sometimes com-
pletely at a loss in deciphering a very bad hand.
There is no excuse for a person in respectable life
persisting in writing illegibly, as it is never too late
to improve. You have only to take lessons of a good
instructor, and apply yourself sedulously to acquiring
a new hand, and you will succeed in doing so.
Do not, in writing for the press, affect the crow-
quill calligraphy that is fashionable for album verses
and complimentary billets. When your manuscript
is finished, sew the leaves evenly together, with nothing
more than a strong thread ; or, if it is very thick, it
may be sewed with a fine twine put into a large
needle. A handsome cover, daintily fastened with a
SUGGESTIONS TO INEXPERIENCED AUTHORS. 277
pretty ribbon, is of no account in a printing-office,
where the first thing that is done with a manuscript
is to remove the cover, and cut the leaves loose from
the fastening. The printers will gladly dispense with
covers, ribbons, and fairy-like penmanship, in favour
of a plain legible hand, pages regularly numbered,
and leaves written on one side only.
In commencing a manuscript, write the title or
caption in large letters, at some distance from the top
of the first page ; and if you are not anonymous, put
your name a little below the title. Then begin the
first line of the first paragraph, several inches distant
from the left-hand side, or margin. In this manner
commence every paragraph. The length of the para-
graphs may be regulated by the time when you think
a pause longer than that of a period or full stop may
be effective ; or to give the reader an opportunity of
resting for a minute ; or to denote the commencement
of another subject.
In writing a dialogue, begin every separate speech
with a capital, and commence each speech on a new
line, and at some distance from the left-hand margin.
Also mark the beginning and end of every speech
with double commas. If the names of the speakers
are given at the commencement of every speech, write
those names in large letters, putting a dot and a dash
after them. All these arrangements are the same in
writing as in printing.
If you are, unfortunately, not familiar with the
rules of punctuation, refresh your memory by refer-
ring to them in a grammar-book. They must be
216 MISS LE I EHAVIOUB B<
strictly observed; otherwise your meaning will be un-
intelligible. Always remember that every period or
full stop, and every note of interrogation, or of admi-
ration, must be followed by a capital letter, beginning
the next word. Dashes, particularly in a dialogue,
add much to the effect, if not used too lavishly.
Errors of orthography are rarely committed by any
one "who presumes to write for the press. It is
scarcely possible for a person who reads much to spell
incorrectly, as the appearance of the printed word3
becomes insensibly and indelibly fixed in the mind.
Still it may be well to write with a dictionary on your
table, in case you should have any doubt as to the
proper spelling and meaning of a word with which
you may not be very familiar.
Keep also a grammar on your table. Grammatical
errors are annoying to the reader, and disgraceful to
the writer, unless it is well known that she has not
had the advantage of an education, even at a common
school. Then she is to be pitied. But it is never too
late to study grammar, and she had best do so before
she ventures to write for the public. If she writes
ungrammatically, how must she talk ! In a work of
fiction it is shocking to have lords and ladies, or the
noble and dignified hero, and the elegant and refined
heroine, conversing in "bad grammar," because the
author knew no better. Yet such books we have
seen. There are, luckily, not many of them. But
there should be none.
Every morning, previous to commencing your task,
revise carefully all that you have written on the pre-
SUGGESTIONS TO INEXPERIENCED AUTHORS. 271*
ceeding day, and correct and alter whatever you may
deem susceptible of improvement. Some authors re-
vise every page as soon as they have written it. But,
unless you are much pressed for time, it is best to do
this next morning, when your perceptions are fresh
and clear. In crossing or blotting out, do it effec-
tually, so that the original words may not appear
through, and remain still legible. If you find that
you have omitted a word, or if you wish to change
one word for another, interline it ; inserting the new
word just above the line to which it belongs, and
placing this mark /\ below. Lay aside each page as
you finish it. Be particular in numbering every
page; and it is best to do this before you begin,
placing the number near the top of the right-hand
corner. Let not your lines be too close, or there will
not be space enough for legible interlining.
. If the publisher lives in your own town, it will be
sufficient to roll up the manuscript in clean white
paper, twisted at each end, and wafered in the middle.
But however short the distance, write on the outside
of the paper the full direction of the publishing office ;
that, in case of its being dropped in the street, any
person finding it may know exactly where to take it.
In putting up a large manuscript, in a packet for
transmission to a distant place, use strong nankeen
paper for the cover, and secure it with wafers, or
paste, if it is to go a voyage in a steamer, as a wax
seal may be melted by the heat of the fire. If it will
reach its destination in a few hours, you may seal it
with wax, having tied red tape" about. Dp not use
280 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
twine, as that may cut the paper. Newspapers are
generally put up in a brownish paper cover, pasted at
the side and bottom, with one end left open.
Postage is now so cheap, that manuscripts had best
always be transmitted by mail; putting a sufficient
number of stamps on the outside, all close to each
Few women can write well enough for publication,
without going twice over the subject; first in what is
called the rough copy, and then making a fair copy
with all the original errors corrected, and all proper
alterations inserted. If you have time, make two fair
copies; one for the printer, and one to keep for your-
self, in case the other should be accidentally destroyed
or lost — retaining it till after the work is actually in
print. Much postage is wasted, and much annoyance
is given to the editors of periodicals, by applications
for the restoration of unpublished verses, and other
"Rejected Addresses," consisting, perhaps, of a sheet
of poetry, or a few pages of prose, of which it would
have been very easy to have made another copy for
the author's keeping.
In writing articles for Annuals, let it be remem-
bered that the printing of these books is always com-
pleted some months before they are published or an-
nounced for sale. Therefore, all contributions should
be sent to the publisher before February, or March at
farthest. For a magazine, they should be transmitted
at least two months in advance. For a weekly paper,
two weeks ahead.
Those who write for periodicals should remember
SUGGESTIONS TO INEXPERIENCED AUTHORS. 281
that it is the custom to address all letters on com-
pensations, copies of work, &c. to the publisher; and
not to the editor, who seldom has any concern in the
pecuniary affairs, his business being solely to receive,
and read the manuscripts, to accept or reject them,
and to arrange them for the press. It is not usual
for the compensation to be paid till after the book is
published. Some publishers send to every contributor
one copy of the work. Others do not present a copy
when the article is very short — for instance, a few
stanzas of verse. Prose obtains a higher price than
poetry, of which there is always a superabundance in
the market. Much poetry is published without any
pay at all; the writers being contented with seeing
their effusions in print. No good author has any
occasion to write gratuitously. A "merely passable"
or "just tolerable" writer of poetry or fiction, should
give up the inventive line, and try something else —
something for which genius is not indispensable; and
from which, by patience and industry, a sort of living
may be wrought out.
In composing poetry, a common, but unpardonable
fault is that of introducing a lame or halting line — a
line with one syllable too many, or too few. And if
the author does not understand that it is an intolerable
blemish, and sends it uncorrected to the press, she is
unworthy of being called a poetess. We are inclined
to believe that no person devoid of an ear for music, can
write poetry deserving of the name. The ideas may be
good, but the lines will have no melody, andwill move
harshly and ruggedly, very much like rough prose,
282 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
Some writers seem to think that blank vcrsu is
nothing but prose with a capital at the beginning of
each line; never having learnt or remembered that
though the lines do not rhyme, they must all comprise
ten syllables, (syllables, not words,) otherwise the effect
when read, will, to even a tolerable ear, be absolutely
painful. "We saw a play, (the first attempt of a since
distinguished dramatist,) the dialogue of which was
unintelligible to the audience, and nearly impracti-
cable to the actors, who found it absolutely beyond
their skill to enunciate; or rather beneath it. We
afterward heard the manager of the Chestnut-street
Theatre explain, that the difficulty, both with the
speakers and the hearers, was the execrable blank
verse in which the play was written; some of the
lines containing but seven or eight syllables, (instead
of ten,) and some twelve or fourteen. A very few
English authors write irregular blank verse ; but we
are sorry to say that a great many Americans do not
seem to understand the process, simple as it is, of
confining themselves to ten syllables only, — neither
more nor less. Can they have read Shakspeare ?
There is no blank verse in French poetry. That
language seems incapable of it.
If you are writing for a periodical, and are desirous
of ascertaining before-hand how many pages youi
manuscript will make when printed, take, at random,
any printed page of the work, and copy it in your
usual hand, and on a sheet of the same paper you
intend using throughout. You will thus, by com-
parison, be able to judge with tolerable accuracy,
SUGGESTIONS TO INEXPERIENCED AUTHORS. 283
how much of your writing will make a page when
Keep a memorandum-book for the express purpose
of setting down whatever relates to your literary
affairs. Insert the day when you commenced a manu-
script, the day when you finished it, and the day on
which it went to the publisher. Also, the whole num-
ber of its pages. When you see it in print, put down
the number of its printed pages. In this book, set
down, immediately on receiving them, whatever sums
are paid to you for your writings.
If you are a writer of fiction, have a large book for
memorandums, of any amusing or remarkable things
you may chance to hear, and which you may turn to
account afterward. If you write truth only, keep a
book for the reception of useful or interesting facts.
A written book of names, alphabetically arranged,
(surnames and christian names,) will be of great ad-
vantage in selecting appellations for your characters.
Do not give elegant names to your common people ;
or to your patrician characters names that are coarse
and vulgar. A fault in Dickens is that nearly all his
names are rugged, uncouth, and ill-sounding, and sel-
dom characteristic. Why should a very excellent and
generous brother and sister be called Tom Pinch and
Ruth Pinch. What did they pinch ?
There is a proof-reader in every printing-office, but
after he has done, the proofs are generally sent to the
author for farther revisal.
In correcting proof-sheets, first see that they are
quite dry. Draw your pen through any word you
284 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
desire to change, and then write the new word on the
margin, placing it even with the line of the rejected
word. When you alter the punctuation, converting a
comma into a semicolon, or a period into a note of
admiration, make a slight mark on the margin of that
line, that the printer may not overlook it. If you
have occasion to change a whole sentence, cross it
out, and put the new sentence on the margin at the
bottom of the page.
If the printer's boy can wait, you had best correct
the proofs while he stays.
Miss Edgworth says that the education of a child
begins at three months old. It is true that both bad
and good habits may seem to commence at this early
age ; but we do not believe that in so slight a soil they
take a very deep root, or that what is called a cross
baby is sure to grow up an ill-tempered adult. Infants,
when they are not really sick, frequently cry from some
incidental annoyance, and not from a fretful disposition.
If they feel comfortably they will usually be good-hu-
moured and pleasant. Much of their comfort is sacri-
ficed to the vanity of the mother in dressing them
fashionably and expensively. We knew a baby that
was very good in the morning, but very cross in the
afternoon, or when dressed for show. And no
wonder, for in her show-costume she was tortured with
necklace, sleeve-loops, and bracelets of fine branchy, or
rather briary coral, scratching and irritating her deli-
cate skin, and leaving the print in red marks. On
our representing this to the mother as the probable
cause of the baby's fretfulness, the thorny ornaments
were left off, and the child became amiable. Gold
chains are also very irritating to the neck and arms
of an infant. Coral beads of a smooth round form,
MISS LESLIES BEHAVIOUE BOOK.
strung evenly on a simple thread of silk, without any
intermingling of gold chain, are, perhaps, the moat
comfortable necklaces for children, and are also very
becoming ; but as they are not expensive, they are of
course not fashionable.
Fortunately, the days of worked caps are over.
Young ladies are no longer expected to cover pieces
of cambric with elaborate cotton embroidery fur the
babies of their married friends, and the tender heads
of the babies are no longer chafed with rough needle-
work rubbing incessantly upon them, or heated with a
silk lining to the cambric already thickened all over
with close, heavy patterns. We wish also that
mothers, generally, were less proud of seeing their
babies with "luxuriant heads of hair," which if it has
no natural tendency to curl, disfigures the child and
gives it a wild, ungenteel look. If it does curl, it still
heats the head and neck, and is said to draw away
muclr strength, from the system. The most healthy
infants we have seen, had very little hair, or it was
judiciously kept closely cut. To curl children's hair
in papers is barbarous. They pay dearly for the
glory of appearing in ringlets during the day, if they
are made to pass their nights lying upon a mass of
hard, rough bobs, about as pleasant as if they had
their heads in a bag of hickory-nuts. But then the
mother has the gratification of hearing their curls
Among other sufferings inflicted on babies is that of
sending them out in bleak winter days with brimlesa
hats, that, so far from screening their faces from the
cold wind, do not even afford the slightest shade to
their eyes, which are winking and watering all the
time from the glare of the sun and snow. We have
seen false curls pinned to these babies' hats, and dan-
gling in their eyes.
Another detestable practice is that of making the
waists of children's frocks ridiculously long and pain-
fully tight; particularly over the chest and body,
which are thus pressed flat, to the utter ruin of thf*
figure, and the risk of producing incurable diseases —
such as consumption of the lungs, and projection of the
spine ; to say nothing of the various complaints con-
nected with the stomach, which is thus squeezed into
half its natural compass. Also, the sleeve-holes are
.so small and tight as to push up the shoulders. Then
the hips are pressed downward far below their proper
place, and the legs are consequently in danger of
becoming short and bandy. Is it possible this vile
fashion can continue much longer ! — and are " the
rising generation" really to grow up with high
shoulders, round backs, flat chests, bodies that seem
longer than their legs, and hips almost where their
knees ought to be.
Also, these limbs must suffer from cold in winter
with no other covering than cotton stockings, the,
skirts of the dress scarcely reaching to the knees — the
little boys disfigured with the ugliest of all garments,
Add to all the rest of these abominations, tight
bnots with peaked toes, and can we wonder that chil-
dren, even beyond the period of infancy, should, at
238 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
times, be cross, irritable, and unamiable. How can
they be otherwise, when they seldom feel comfortably ?
Then, if the parents can afford it, (or whether or not,)
the unhappy children are bedizened with all manner
of expensive finery, and interdicted from romping,
lest they should injure it. But, what matter if the
children suffer — the mother's vanity must be gratified,
and she must have the delight of seeing that her boys
and girls are as fashionably dressed as the little
Thomsons and "Wilsons and Jacksons.
We look back with regret to the days when little
girls, as well ? s boys, wore their hair closely cropped ;
convenient and cool, and showing to advantage the
^form of the head, till they were twelve or thirteen —
and they wore only washable dresses, descending far
below the knees, and with pantalets down to their
ancles. In summer their frocks, had short wide sleeves,
and were not close up to the throat. The bodies were of
a natural length, the outside gathered full upon a
moderately tight lining. If there is no lining to a
full frock-body it will puff out at the back and front,
and give the waist a look of deformity before and
behind. Then the little girls went out in close
cottage-bonnets of straw in summer, and beaver in
winter — shading and screening their faces — and were
kept warm when out of doors with long wide cloaks or
coats of cloth or merino, instead of the fantastic short
things now worn, with open sleeves and open fronts.
Then, when at home, how innocent and childlike they
looked in their long-sleeved convenient bib-aprons ! — so
much better than the short silk ones now worn,
trimmed and bordered and ribboned, and rendered so
fine that the children are expected to be as careful
of injuring their showy aprons as of soiling their
Formerly, children learned to play various amusing
games, suchNas " Hot buttered beans," "Blind-man's
buff," &c. Now their play is chiefly running and
squeeling, and chasing each other about, without any
definite object, except that of making a noise. Then,
at a juvenile party, the amusement was chiefly in the
varieties of these entertaining games. Now it is
dancing — for as many as can find places to dance —
and nothing at all for those who cannot, but to grow
tired and sleepy. In former times, children's parties
commenced at two o'clock in the afternoon in winter,
and at fOur in summer. They played till they were
summoned to a large and well-supplied tea-table, and
were sent for to come home by eight o'clock, being
then quite tired enough to go to bed and sleep
soundly, and waken with pleasant recollections of
yesterday. If the party was very large, the elder
children sat round the room, and tea, &c. was handed
to them, while the little ones were accommodated at a
table where the hostess presided. The children of
that time really enjoyed these parties, and so would
those of the present time, if they could have such.
The juvenile-party dress was then but a simple white
muslin frock with a ribbon sash. We have since seen
little girls at a summer party stedfastly refuse straw-
berries and cream, in obedience to the interdiction of
their mothers; who had enjoined them to do so, lest
MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
uld stain or otherwise injure their el
Fortunately, it is no longer fashionable for mothers
to take their children with them on morning visits.
On these occasions small children rarely behave well.
They soon grow tired, and restless, and begin teazing
to go somewhere else. Their presence is (or ought to
be) a restraint on conversation, as much may be said
during a visit that is not well for them to hear. They
comprehend certain things far more easily than is
supposed. Great mischief has ensued from allowing
children to sit and listen; and there is no dependence
on their discretion or secrecy.
It is not well to put a small child u through its
facings," by trying to make it exhibit any of its little
feats before strangers. They are generally very
reluctant to make this exhibition. Sometimes they
are bashful, sometimes perverse; but if the mother
persists in her attempt to show them off, it will
probably prove a complete failure, and end in a cry,
or that outbreak usually called a tantrum. By-the-
bye, there is no better way of stopping a tantrum than
quietly to divert the child's attention to something
Beware of trusting an infant, too confidingly, to an
European nurse ; and when she carries out the baby, it
would be well if an older sister or the mother herself
could go along. Instead of carrying it to one of the
public squares, or to some other place where there is
air and shade, she may take it into dirty alleys, on a
visit to some of her own relations, perhaps newly
arrived in an emigrant ship, with tie filth and diseases
of a steerage passage still about them. This we know
to have been done, and the child has in consequence
taken a disgusting disease. Or, believing it a merito-
rious act, an Irish nurse may secretly carry the infant
to a priest, and have it baptized in the Catholic
church, herself standing godmother. Of this there
have been numerous instances. Young children fre-
quently acquire, from being too much with ignorant
and vulgar nurses, bad habits of talking that are
exceedingly difficult to eradicate — so lasting are early
impressions. We have heard an Irish brogue from
infantine lips ; and the letter H sadly misused by the
American nursling of a low Englishwoman. Above
all, do not permit your own children to play with the
children of their nurse. No good ever accrues from it.
Children should not be brought to table till they
are able to feed themselves, first with a spoon, and
next with a fork. And not then, unless they can be
depended on to keep quiet, and not talk. The chat-
tering of children all dinner-time is a great annoyance
to grown people. The shrill voice of a child can be
distinguished annoyingly amid those of a whole com-
pany. They should be made to understand that if
they talk at table, they are to be immediately taken
away to finish their dinner in the nursery. On no
consideration should they be admitted to table when
there is a dinner-party. The foolish custom of having
all the children dressed for the purpose, and brought
in with the dessert, is now obsolete. It never was
very prevalent, except in England.
292 miss Leslie's behaviouh book.
We have seen children so well and so early trained
that they could be trusted to come to table every day
without the least fear of their misbehaving by talking
or otherwise. They sat quietly, asked for nothing,
took contentedly whatever was put on their plates,
made no attempt at helping themselves, and neither
greased nor slopped the table-cloth; and when done,
wiped their mouths and hands on their napkins, before
they quitted their chairs, which they did at a sign
from their mother; going out without noise, and nei-
ther leaving the door open nor slamming it hard. It
is very easy to accustom children to these observances.
Also, they may be taught very early, how to behave
to visiters. For instance, not to pass between them
and the fire, not to hang on the back of a lady's
chair ; or to squeeze close to her ; or to get on her lap ;
or to finger her dress; or to search her reticule, or her
pocket ; or to ask a stranger for pennies or sixpences ;
or to tell her that she is not pretty; or to enquire
"why she wears such an ugly bonnet?"
We have known a fine little boy, not three years
old, who, on the entrance of a friend of his mother's,
would haul up a chair for her, and invite her to a seat
near the fire, place a footstool at her feet, ask her to
let him take her bonnet, and invite her to stay to
dinner, to stay all day, and to " stay for ever," adding,
"I try to be polite."
There are very little girls who, if their mother is
from home, can do the honours in her place; seat the
visiter on the sofa, and press her to stay till their
mother comes in ; and if the lady declines doing so,
they will ask her at least to stay awhile, and rest her-
self, and have a glass of cool water; and while she
stays, they will do their best to entertain her. Such
children always grow up with polished manners, if
not removed from the influence that made them so in
Children should be early taught not to repeat the
conversation of grown persons, and never to tell the
servants any thing they have heard in the parlour.
When they come home from school, they ought
not to be encouraged in telling school-tales. If they
dine out, never question them concerning what they
had for dinner. Forbid their relating any circum-
stances concerning the domestic economy of the house
at which they have been entertained.
If a child purloins cakes or sweetmeats, punish
him by giving him none the next time they are on
At four years of age, a beginning should be made
in teaching them to read, by hearing them the alpha-
bet every day till they have learned it perfectly ; and
afterwards the first spelling-tables. With a quarter
<*f an hour's daily instruction, a child of common
capacity will, in six months, be able to spell in two or
three syllables, and to read short easy stories with
the syllables divided. At the end of the year, if her
lessons are regular, and not so long as to tire her, she
will, in all probability, take pleasure in reading to
herself, when her lessons are over. Were they
taught out of story-boohs only, there are few children
that at the age of six years would find any difficulty
201 miss Leslie's bbhavioub took.
in reading fluently. If very intelligent, they often
can read well at five. When they can once read,
encourage them in the love of hooks ; hut do not set
them at any other branch of education till they are
eight. Then, their hands being strong enough to
guide the pen firmly, they may commence writing
copies. They should be supplied with slates and
pencils at three years old. If they have any dormant
talent for drawing, this will call it out. Little girls
may begin to sew at four or five, but only as an
amusement, not as a task. The best and most satis-
factory dolls for young children are those of linen or
rag, made very substantially. Much money is wasted
in toys that afford them no amusement whatever ; and
toys that, being merely to look at, they grow tired of
immediately, and delight in breaking to pieces.
Never give an infant a book to play with. He will
most assuredly tear it ; that being the only amusement
it can afford him. It is possible at a very early age to
teach a tractable female child such a respect for books
that she will never attempt to injure them. When
they are old enough to take pleasure in looking at the
pictures, it is easy to accustom them to be always
satisfied with the books being shown to them in the
hands of grown persons. Do not buy those books
that have absurd and revolting prints of people with
gigantic heads and diminutive bodies. Children al-
ways dislike them, and so they ought.
Rejoice when a little girl shews a fondness for
reading, and by all means encourage it. Keep her
well supplied with good and entertaining books, and
you will have little trouble with her. Do not need-
lessly interrupt, and call her off — but let- her read in
peace. It will do her more good than any thing else,
and lay the foundation of an intelligent mind. A
taste for reading, if not formed in early childhood,
may perhaps never come at all. And then what a
solace it is in bodily illness ! How patiently a read-
ing child, whose mind is stored with "pleasant memo-
ries," can bear pain, and submit to the confinement
of a sick-bed. We have known more than one
instance of the illness of a reading child taking a turn
for the better, from the time she was indulged with an
amusing and interesting book.
There is no place in which children appear to
greater disadvantage or are less ungovernable than at
hotels or boarding-houses. We are always sorry when
the circumstances of parents oblige them permanently
to- live thus in public, with their young families, who
are consequently brought up in a manner which
cannot but have an unfavourable effect in forming the
characters of the future men and women. By way of
variety, and that they may not always be confined up-
stairs, the children are encouraged, or at least per-
mitted by their mothers, to spend much of their time in
the drawing-room, regardless of the annoyance which
their noise and romping never fails to inflict upon the
legitimate occupants of that apartment. The parents,
loving their children too much to be incommoded
themselves by any thing that their offspring can say
or do, seem not aware that they can possibly inter-
rupt or trouble the rest of ths company. Or else,
296 miss Leslie's behaviode book.
conscious of their own inability to control them, they
are afraid to check the children lest they should turn
restive, rebel, or break out into a tantrum. "Any
thing for the sake of peace," is a very foolish maxim
where juveniles are concerned. By being firm once
or twice, and dismissing them from the room when
they deserve it, you may have peace ever after. The
noisiest and most inconvenient time to have children
m a public parlour is in the interval between their tea
and their bed-time. Some children have no bed-time.
And when they arc tired of scampering and shouting,
they lie about sleeping on the sofas, and cry if they
are finally wakened, to go up with their mother when
she retires for the night.
Still worse is the practice that prevails in some
hotels and boarding-houses, of the mothers sending
the nurse-maids with the babies, to sit in the drawing-
room among the ladies ; who are thus liable to have a
vulgar and obtrusive servant-girl, most probably
"from the old country," boldly taking her seat in the
midst of them, or conspicuously occupying one of the
front-windows ; either keeping up a perpetual under-
current of fulsome, foolish talk to the baby, or listening
eagerly to the conversation around her, and, perhaps,
repeating it invidiously as soon as she gets an oppor-
tunity. If one lady sends her nurse-maid to sit in the
drawing-room with the child, all the other mothers of
babies immediately follow suit, and the drawing-room
becomes a mere nursery.
Every hotel should have a commodious and airy
parlour set apart entirely for the children and nurses.
The proprietors could easily afford to keep one good
room for that purpose, if they would expend a little
less on the finery of the parlours, &c. We have heard
of an embroidered piano-cover, in a great hotel, costing
fourteen hundred dollars, and the children pulling it
down and dragging it about the floor. With a piano-
cover of the usual cost, and other things less osten-
tatious, a children's parlour might well have been
afforded in this very establishment.
At a hotel, if the children come to the ladies' table,
they are always in danger of eating food that is
highly improper for them, and they very soon learn
to help themselves to much more than they want, and
to eat voraciously, in their desire to " have something
of every thing." There is always a table purposely
for those children whose parents pay half-price for
them ; and at which the housekeeper presides. How-
ever good this table may be, and though the pies and
puddings may be excellent, the mothers are frequently
dissatisfied with the absence of ice-cream, blanc-mange,
charlotte-russe, &c, though certainly, were they in
houses of their own, they would not have such things
every day. Therefore, though it is "not in the bond,"
the mothers carry away from the table saucers of
these delicacies, and the children learn to expect a
daily supply of them from the ladies' dining-room.
This, we must say, is a mean practice. We have,
however, known some mothers, who, really being
"honourable women," sent every day to a confec-
tioner's to buy ice-cream for their children.
There is danger at a hotel Df little boys loitering
298 MISS LESLIE'S BSHATIOUK COOK.
about the bar or office, encouraged by unlinking
young men, who give them "tastes of drink," and
even amuse themselves by teaching them to smoke
And no children, either boys or girls, can live at a
public house without hearing and seeing much that it
is best they should not know. The English travellers
deprecate the American practice of bringing up young
people in hotels or boarding-houses. And they are
When a lady, having with her a young child, and
no nurse-maid, stops for a day at a hotel, she can
-avoid the inconvenience of taking the child with her to
table, and incommoding herself and all who sit near
her. She has only to intrust the little traveller to a
chambermaid up-stairs; directing the girl how to take
care of it, and promising her a gratuity for her trouble.
She will rarely have cause to regret such an arrange-
ment. It will spare the annoyance and mortification
of having the child make a noise at table, and perhaps
compelling the mother to go away with it.
DECvx CHURCH. 299
DECORUM IN CHURCn.
We wish it were less customary to go to church m
gay and costly habiliments, converting its sacred pre-
cincts into a place for the display of finery, and of
rivalry to your equally bedizened neighbours. In
many Catholic countries,* a peculiar costume is uni-
versally adopted for visiting a place of worship — a
very plain gown of entire black, with a long, black
cloak, and a black hood finished with a veil that
shades the face. This dress is kept for the purpose
of wearing at church. We highly approve the cus-
tom, and wish that something similar could be intro-
duced into the United States — particularly on the
solemn occasions of taking the communion, or being
confirmed as a christian member. We have known
young ladies to have elegant dresses made on purpose,
and to get their hair dressed by a barber when pre
paring for confirmation.
In a Sacred Melody of Moore's, St. Jerome tells us—
"Yet worldly is that heart at best, %
Which beats beneath a broider'd veil;
And she who comes in glittering vest
To mourn her frailty — still is frail."
* The author is a Protcbtant.
GOO miss Leslie's behaviour book.
Endeavour always to be in your pew before the
service commences, and do not hurry out of it, hastily,'
the moment the benediction is finished; or begin
visibly to prepare for departure as soon as it commences.
Stay quietly till the mass of the crowd has gone.
If you go into a strange church, or rather into a
church where you are a stranger, wait in the vestibule
till you see the sexton ; and then request him to show
you to a vacant seat, or rather to one which he be-
lieves will be that day unoccupied — for instance, if the
family owning it is out of town. This is far better
than to wander about the aisles alone, or to intrude
yourself into a pew where you may cause inconve-
nience to its owners. If you see that a pew is full,
you know, of course, that you cannot obtain a seat in
it without dislodging somebody.
Yet we have seen many a lady, on entering a church
in which she was a stranger, walk boldly up the middle
aisle to one of the best pews near the pulpit, and
pertinaciously stand there, looking steadfastly at its
rightful occupants, till one of them quitted his own
seat, and gave it up to her, seeking for himself another
place wherever he could find one. Those who go to
strange churches should be contented with seats near
the door; or at the lower end of the side-aisles; or
up in the gallery.
If a family invites you to go to church with them,
or to come thither, and have a seat in their pew, do
not take the liberty of asking a friend of your own to
accompany you; and above all, do not bring a child
DECORUM IN CHURCH. 301
Should you (having a pew of your own) ask another
lady to go with you, call for her in due time ; and she
ought to be quite ready. Place her in a corner-seat,
fit being the most comfortable,) and see that she is
accommodated with a foot-stool; and be assiduous in
fin ling the places for her in the prayer-book, or hymn-
In American churches there is much civility to
strangers. We have often seen, when a person of
respectable appearance was in quest of a seat, the
doors of half a dozen pews kindly opened to admit
him, and, as soon as he entered, a prayer-book offered
to him open at the proper place.
No good can result from taking children to church
when they are too young to read, or to understand.
They are always eager to go, because they like to go
everywhere; but when once seated in the pew, they
soon become tired and restless ; and frequently there
is no way to keep them quiet, but to let them go to
sleep in the lap of the mother or elder sister. And
then they are apt to cry whenever they waken. If
there are two little boys, they are prone to get to
playing, or what is far worse, quarrelling. And then
if they make a noise, some elder member of the family
is subjected to the mortification of conveying them out
of church — perhaps by desire of the minister audibly
expressed from the pulpit. We know clergymen who
do not permit their children to be taken to chmch till
they can read — convinced that if their first recollec-
tions of a place of worship are rather painful than
pleasant, they are the less likely to grow up with a
oO'l MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
due regard for religion — that is, for religion of the
heart — the spirit, and not merely the letter.
We are sorry to see young ladies, on their "way to
church, laughing and talking loudly, and flirting with
the beaux that are gallanting them thither. It is too
probable that these beaux will occupy a large share
of their thoughts during the hours of worship. Nay,
there are some so irreverent, and so regardless of the
sanctity of the place, as to indulge in frequent
whispers to those near them, or to their friends in the
A lady of high fashion and fortune, formerly a resi-
dent of Philadelphia, was noted for the scandalous
lightness and levity of her behaviour in church —
laughing and talking, in more than whispers, nearly
all the time, to the idle young men whom she always
brought with her, and who, to do them justice, some-
times seemed rather ashamed of her conduct. Her
pew was directly in front of the pulpit. One Sunday
morning, Bishop White gave her a severe and merited
rebuke, by stopping in his sermon, fixing his eyes
sadly upon her, and bowing to her, as an intimation
that till she had ceased he could not go on. We are
sorry to add that the reproof had no other effect than
to excite her anger, and caused her immediately to go
out of church, highly exasperated. That lady went to
live in Europe, and has not yet become a good woman,
but greatly the contrary.
"The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the
earth keep silence before him/' was the solemn and
DECORUM IN CHURCII. 308
impressive inscription over the altar of St. Augustine's
church in Philadelphia.
In visiting a church of a different denomination
from your own, comply, as far as you can, with all
the ceremonies observed by the congregation, par-
ticularly if you are in a foreign country. Even if
some of these observances are not the least in con-
formity with your own opinions and feelings, re-
member that you are there as a guest, and have no
right to offend or give displeasure to your hosts by
evincing a marked disapprobation of their mode of
worship. If you find it very irksome to refrain,
(which it should not be,) you need not go a second
time. Every religious sect believes its own faith to
be the best; but God only knows which really is.
Christ has said, "By their fruits ye shall know
304 mips Leslie's behaviour book.
Having made out a list of the persons you intend
to invite, proceed to write the notes ; or have them
written in a neat, handsome hand, by an experienced
calligrapher. Fashion, in its various changes, some-
times decrees that these notes, and their envelopes,
shall be perfectly plain, (though always of the finest
paper,) and that the wax seals shall of course be very
small. At other times, the mode is to write on
embossed note paper, with bordered envelopes, secured
by fancy wafers, transparent, medallion, gold or silver.
If the seals are gold or silver, the edges or borders of
the paper should be also gilt or silvered. Sometimes,
for a very large or splendid party, the notes are
engraved and printed on cards. Consult the Direc-
tory, to obtain the exact address of those to whom you
These invitations may be transmitted by one of the
City posfroflices ; first putting a stamp on each. Let
the stamps be such as will leave nothing additional to
be paid by the receiver. If they go through the
United States Post-Office, the carrier will require
another cent for each, beside the stamp. In Phila-
EVENING PARTIES. 305
delphia, Blood's Dispatch Post may be trusted, as to
punctuality, (if faithfully put into the letter-box at
the proper time;) and there is no cost but that of the
penny stamp which you put on yourself.
Another way is to send round the notes by a reliable
servant-man of your own ; or to engage, for this pur-
pose, one of the public waiters that are hired to attend
at parties. The notes are usually sent either eight,
seven, or six days before the party — if it is to be very
large, ten days or two weeks. In the notes, always
specify not only the day of the week, but also the day
of the month, when the party is to take place. It is
very customary now to designate the hour of assem-
bling, and then the company are expected to be punc-
tual to that time. People, really genteel, do not go
ridiculously kte. When a ball is intended, let the
word "Dancing" be introduced in small letters, at the
lower left-hand corner of the note.
For a bridal party, subsequent to a wedding, the
words now used are thus —
Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Morland,
At Home, on Thursday evening, Sept. 22, 1853.
Their residence must be given beneath, in a corner,
and in smaller letters.
Oblong slices of plumb-cake, iced all over, are now
sent round in very pretty white card-board boxes, ex-
actly fitting each slice, covered on the inside with lace-
paper, and an engraved card of the bride and groom
laid on the top cf the cake. These boxes (to be had
300 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUB BOOK.
at the fancy stationers,) are of various prices ; some of
them are very elegant and costly.
At wedding-parties, it is usual for the bride and
bridesmaids to appear in exactly the same dresses
they wore at the marriage ; all of them ranged in
their respective stations before the company begin to
When the marriage-guests are not too numerous,
it is customary to have all the company shown into
the largest parlour, when they first arrive ; the folding-
doors being closed between. Meanwhile, the bride
and groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen, with the
heads of the family, arrange themselves in a line or a
semi-circle ; the most important personages in the
centre, with the clergyman in front of them. When
all is ready, the doors are thrown open, the guests
advance, and the ceremony begins. When it is over,
and the bride is receiving the compliments of her
friends, we hope the silliest woman present will not
go up and ask her the foolish question, " If she does
not feel already like an old married woman?"
A crowd at a wedding is now obsolete. We once
heard of a marriage in a great family, where the com-
pany was so numerous that all the doors were blocked
up, and quite inaccessible ; and the bride could only
make*her entrance by being taken round outside, ard
lifted through a back window — the groom jumping in
Dancing at weddings is old-fashioned. A band ot
music playing in the hall is of no use, as on such occa-
sions no one listens to it, and some complain of the
EVENING PARTIES. 307
noise. We think a marriage in church is not as
fine* a spectacle as may be imagined. The effect is
lost in the size of the building, and broken up by the
intervention of the aisles and pews ; the wedding
guests seated in the latter, and the former occupied by
people out of the street, coming in to see the show.
And this they will do, if not forcibly excluded ; par-
ticularly idle boys, and nurse-maids with children,
all trying to get as near the altar as possible.
If the bride and groom are to set out on a journey
immediately after the ceremony, it is best for her to
be married in a handsome travelling-dress — new for
the occasion, of course. This is often done now. She
can reserve the usual wedding costume for her first
party after returning home.
In preparing for a party, it is well (especially if you
have had but little experience yourself,) to send for
one of the best public waiters, and consult with him on
the newest style of " doing these things." A respect-
able coloured man will be found the most efficient for
this purpose. He can also give you an idea of the
probable expense. "VVe do not, of course, allude to
magnificent entertainments, such as are celebrated in
the newspapers, and become a nine days' wonder ;
and are cited as costing, not hundreds, but thousands
In case the required waiter should be pre-engaged,
it is well to send for, and consult him, a week or two
before your party.
We knew a lady who, some years ago, sent for
Carroll, (a very excellent mulatto man, well known in
miss i.!' 'lie'h beii vvrou]
Philadelphia,) to officiate at a projected party. Car-
roll, in very polite terms, expressed that he vrafl
engaged for that identical evening to attend at a ball.
<k Then," said the lady, "you must try to furnish me
•with some one else, in your place. Where is Bogle V*
" I know Bogle can't come," answered Carroll; "he
is bespoke that night for a wedding." " Shepherd,
then?" said the lady; "see if you cannot send me
Shepherd." "As to Shepherd," replied Carroll, "he
is sick in his bed, and like to keep so." "Where is
Solomon King, then?" pursued the lady; "Solomon
King will do very well." " Indeed, ma'am," answered
Carroll, " I don't think Solomon King will suit you
now, anyhow; he's taken very much to drink, and
besides he's dead !"
Apropos to the talk of coloured people. — We were
told by a southern lady, that one of her girls being
dressed for an entertainment given by a neighbour to
the servants, came to her, and said : " Mistress, Becky
has come for me to go with her ; and she says her mis-
tress has gave her two grand words to say at the
party. — Now, I want you to give me two words that
shall beat Becky's ; for I know you are a heap smarter
than her mistress."
" Tell me the words given by Becky's mistress,'
said my informant.
"Yes, ma'am. — One is Desdemona, and one is
No doubt, Becky, in some way, contrived to say
In engaging your presiding genius, it is well to
EVENTXG PARTIES. 309
desire him to come on the morning of the party ; he
will be found of great advantage in assisting with the
final preparations. He will attend to the silver, and
china, and glass ; and see that the lamps are all in
order, and that the fires, coal-grates, furnaces, &c,
are in proper trim for evening. He will bring with
him (at whatever hour you indicate,) his " young
men," as he calls them ; (if coloured youths, they are
too genteel to answer to the name of boys ;) and these
are his apprentices that he has in training for the pro-
One of these men should be stationed in the vesti-
bule, or just within the front door. On that evening,
(if not at other times,) let this door be furnished with
a lamp, placed on a shelf or bracket in the fan-light,
to illumine the steps, and shine down upon the pave-
ment, where the ladies cross it on alighting from the
carriages.' If the evening proves rainy, let another
man attend with an umbrella, to assist in sheltering
them on their way into the house. The ladies should
all wear over-shoes, to ' guard their thin slippers from
the damp, in their transit from the coach to the ves-
At the top, or on the landing-place, of the first stair-
case, let another man be posted, to show the female
guests to their dressing-room ; while still another waiter
stays near the gentlemen's room till the company have
In the apartment prepared as a fixing-room for tne
ladies^ two or more women should be all the evening
in attendance; both rooms being well warmed, well
310 miss Leslie's behaviour took.
lighted, and famished with all that mny bo requisite
for giving the last touches to head, feet, and figure,
previous to entering the drawing-room. When ready
to go down, the ladies meet their gentlemen in the
passage between the respective dressing-rooms ; the
beaux being there already, waiting for the belles, who
must not detain them long — men being very impatient
on these, and all other occasions. ,
If any lady is without an escort, and has no acquaint-
ances at hand to take her under their wing, she should
send for the master of the house to meet her near the
door, and give her his arm into the drawing-room.
He will then lead her to the hostess, and to a seat.
Let her then bow, as a sign that she releases him from
farther attendance, and leaves him at liberty to divide
his civilities among his other guests.
In the ladies' room, (beside two toilet glasses with
their branches lighted,) let a Psyche or Cheval glass be
also there. Likewise, a hand-mirror on each toilet to
enable the ladies to see the back of their heads ; with
an ample supply of pins, combs, brushes, hair pins, &c. ;
and a work-box containing needles, thread, thimble,
and scissors, to repair accidents to articles of dress.
Let there be bottles of fine eau de cologne, and cam-
phor and hartshorn, in case of faintings. Among the
furniture, have a sofa and several foot-stools, for the
ladies to sit on if they wish to change their shoes.
The women attending must take charge of the
hoods, cloaks, shawls, over-shoes, &c. ; rolling up
together the things that belong to each lady, and
putting each bundle in some place they can easily
EVENING PARTIES. 311
remember when wanted at the breaking up of the
It is now the custom for the lady of the house (and
those of her own family,) to be drest rather plainly,
showing no desire to eclipse any of her guests, on this
her own night. But her attire, though simple, should
be handsome, becoming, and in good taste. Her busi-
ness is, without any bustle or apparent officiousness,
quietly and almost imperceptibly to try and render
the evening as pleasant as possible to all her guests ;
introducing those who, though not yet acquainted,
ought to be ; and finding seats for ladies who are not
young enough to continue standing.
The custom that formerly prevailed in the absurd
days of crowds and jams, when dense masses were
squeezed into small apartments, of removing every
seat and every piece of furniture from the room, is
now obsolete. A hard squeeze is no longer a high
boast. Genteel people no longer go to parties on the
stair-case, or in the passages. The ladies are not now
so compressed that nothing of them is seen but their
heads ; the sleeves, skirts, &c, undergoing a continual
demolition down below. We knew of a lady, who, at
a late hour, went to a crowded party in a real blonde
dress, which was rubbed entirely off her before she
reached the centre of the room, and it was hanging
about her satin skirt in shreds, like transparent rags
dissolving into "air — thin air!" For this blonde she
had given two hundred dollars ; and she was obliged
to go home and exchange its tatters for a costume that
was likely to last out the evening.
3 1 2 mi; s Leslie's behavioi r book.
In houses where space is not abundant, it is now
customary to have several moderate parties in the
course of the season, instead of inviting all your "dear
five hundred friends" on the self-same night.
"When the hour of assembling is designated in the
notes of invitation, (as it always should be,) the guests,
of course, will take care to arrive as nearly as possible
about that hour. At large parties, tea is usually
omitted — it being supposed that every one has already
taken that beverage at home, previous to commencing
the business of the toilette. Many truly hospitable
ladies still continue the custom, thinking that it makes
a pleasant beginning to the evening, and exhilerates
the ladies after the fatigue of dressing and arriving.
So it does. For a large compan} r , a table with tea,
coffee, and cakes, may be set in the ladies-room,
women being in attendance to supply the guests with
those refreshments before they go down. Pitchers
of ice-water and glasses should also be kept in this
If there is no tea, the refreshments begin with
lemonade, macaroons, kisses, &c, sent round soon
after the majority of the company has come. If there
is tea, ice-water should be presented after it, to all ;
otherwise, there will be much inconvenience by nume-
rous ladies despatching the servants, separately, to
bring them some.
After a little time allotted to conversation, music is
generally introduced by one of the ladies of the family,
if she plays well ; otherwise, she invites a competent
friend to commence. A lady who can do nothing
EVENING PARTIES. 313
il without her notes," or who cannot read music, and
play at sight, is scarcely enough of a musician to per-
form in a large company — for this incapacity is an
evidence that she has not a good ear, or rather a good
memory for melody — or that her musical talent wants
more cultivation. A large party is no time or place
for practising, or for risking attempts at new things,
or for vainly trying to remember old ones.
Some young ladies rarely sit down to a piano in any
house but their own, without complaining that the
instrument is out of tune. " It is a way they have."
We have known a fair amateur to whom this complaint
was habitual, and never omitted ; even when we knew
that, to provide against it, the piano had really been
tuned that very day.
The tuning of a harp immediately before playing is
sometimes a very tedious business. Would it not be
well for the harpist to come a little earlier than the
rest, and tune it herself previous to their, arrival ?
And let her deem that tuning sufficient for a while,
and not repeat the operation more than once again in
the course of the evening, especially in the midst of
her first piece. However delicate may be her own ear,
or exquisitely fastidious her own taste, she may bo
assured that few of her audience would detect any defi-
ciency, if she only went quietly on, and did not herself
imply that deficiency.
Unless a gentleman is himself familiar with the air,
let him not, on "mounting guard beside the piano,"
volunteer to turn over the pages for the lady who is
31 I miss Leslie's behaviour book.
playing. He will certainly turn them over too soon
or too late, and therefore annoy and confuse her. Still
worse, let him not attempt to accompany her with his
voice, unless he is an excellent musician, or accustomed
to singing with her.
For the hearers to crowd closely round the instru
ment, is smothering to the vocalist. Let them keep
at a proper distance, and she will sing the better, and
they will hear the better. It is so rude to talk during
a song, that it is never done in company ; but a little
low conversation is sometimes tolerated in the adjoin-
ing room, during the performance of one of those inter-'
minable pieces of instrumental music, whose chief merit
lies in its difficulty, and which (at least to the ears of
the uninitiated,) is rather a bore than a pleasure. We
have read a French novel, in which the only child of a
farmer has just come home from a provincial boarding-
school, and the seigneur, or lord of the manor, has
volunteered a visit to these his respected tenants. The
mother, amidst all the bustle of preparing a great
dinner for the occasion, comes in to remind Annette
that if the seigneur should ask her to play for him, she
is to curtsey very low, and thank him for the honour.
"And then, Annette," adds the good old dame, "be
sure to play that tune which your father and I hate so
By the bye, it is very old fashioned to return thanks
to a lady for her singing, or to tell her she is very
kind to oblige the company so often. If she is con-
scious of really singing well, and sees that she delights
her hearers, she will not fuel sensible of fatigue — at
EVENING PARTIES. 315
least till the agreeable excitement of conscious success
It is ill-mannered, when a lady has just finished a
song, for another lady to exclaim in her hearing —
"Mary Jones sings that delightfully!" — or — "How
charmingly Susan Smith gives U3 that ballad !" Let
the glories of Mary Jones and Susan Smith rest, for
that evening, within the limits of their own circle.
Do not ask any lady for a song that has already
been sung on this very evening by another person.
People who have no idea of music sometimes make
strange blunders in their requests. We know of a
female who, at a large party, hearing a young lady
accompany her voice on the national instrument of
Spain, became very urgent to have the Battle of Prague
performed on the guitar.
It is sometimes fashionable, when the company is
not too large for what is called " a sitting party," to
vary the amusements of the evening by introducing
some of the numerous plays or games which are always
the delight of fine children, and which, by way of
variety, frequently afford much diversion to adults. It
is not necessary that all these plays should become "a
keen encounter of the wits," or that all the players
should be persons of talent. But it is certainly desi-
rable that the majority of the company should ha\e
some tact, and some quickness of parts ; that they
should have read some books, and mixed somewhat
with the world — otherwise, they will not be clever even
at playing plays. Those who are incapable of under-
standing, or entering into the spirit of a play, would
316 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
do well to excuse themselves from joining in it, and
prefer sitting by as spectators. Many young ladies
can play nothing beyond " How do you like it?" and
are not great at that — saying, when the question is
put to them — k< Me! I am sure I don't know how I like
it — can't you pass me by?" You may as well take
her at her word, pass her by, and proceed on to her
next neighbour ; for if she does concoct an answer, it
will probably, if the word is "brush" be liked "to
sweep the hearth with;" or if "Hat" is the word, it
will be liked " of Beaver" — or something equally
Such plays as The Lawyer, and The Secret Word,
are very entertaining in good hands, but complete
failures when attempted by the dull or illiterate. The
amusing game of Proverbs had best be given up for
that evening, if, on trial, it is found that few of the
ladies have any knowledge of those true, though homely
aphorisms, that have been aptly called " the concen-
trated wisdom of nations."
'We know a very ingenious gentleman -who, in play-
ing the Secret Word, contrives to introduce that word
in some very short and very humorous anecdote.
A family, on one side of European origin, made a
visit to the transatlantic continent, where they found,
still living in a certain great city, a relative connected
with an ancient branch of nobility. This rendered
them more genteel than ever — and when, covered with
glory, they returned to this poor republic of ours, the
names of nobles, and even of princes, with whom they
hud associated, were ,k familiar in their mouths uj>
EVENING PARTIES. 317
household words." At a party where these personages
were so engaged in talking, that they forgot to keep
the run of the plays ; a new game was commenced by
a young gentleman slipping out of the room, and then
returning with a very lugubrious visage, and announ-
cing, in a melancholy tone, the death of a certain
monarch, whom all the company were immediately to
unite in lamenting loudly, on pain of paying forfeits
unless they steadily persisted in their dismal faces.
On the sad intelligence being proclaimed — " The king
of Bohemia is dead!" — one of our travelled ladies
mistaking it for a solemn truth, turned to her daughter
with— " Ah! Caroline! did you hear that? The
dear good king of Bohemia, who was so kind to us
whenever we attended his court !" " Oh ! mamma !"
replied Caroline, putting her handkerchief to her
eyes — " the news is really heart-breaking. He paid
us so much attention all the time we were in , in
his dominions. It will be long before we cease grieving
for the king of Bohemia."
The gentleman who brought this deplorable news
also had recourse to his handkerchief, and slipped out
into the hall to indulge his mirth ; and several others
slipped out after him for the same purpose. No one,
however, undeceived these ladies, and for several days
at their morning calls they continued to mourn for the
king of Bohemia.
Conundrums * afford infinite diversion at a small
* Miss Leslie's American Girl's Book (published by C. S. Francis,)
contains a great variety of amusing plays, ways to redeem forfeits,
&c., witn au unusual number of conundrums.
818 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
party, provided the company, like Billy Black's cat,
"almost always gives up." Long guessing occupies
too much time; a commodity of which we Americans
seldom have any to spare.
Early in the Mexican war, a premium was awarded
in Philadelphia for a very clever conundrum, alluding
to a certain " Bold Dragoon" at Palo Alto. " In what
manner did Captain May cheat the Mexicans ?" " He
charged them with a troop of horse which they never
Our confectioners, in making up the bon bons called
" secrets" instead of enfolding with the sugar-plumb a
printed slip containing a contemptible distich, would do
w T ell to have good conundrums printed, (with the
answer,) and enclosed in the ornamented papers. They
would certainly be more popular than the old-fashioned
mottoes — such, for instance, as
"My heart, like a candle of four to the pound,
Consumes all the day, and no comfort is found."
Yet the above is one of the least bad. Most of these
mottoes^ are so flat as to be not even ridiculous.
At a dancing party, the ladies of the house decline
joining in it, out of politeness to their guests, till
towards the latter part of the evening, when the
company begins to thin off, and the dancers are
We admire a charming girl, who, in her own house,
being asked to dance by an agreeable man, has the
self-denial to say to him — " Being at home, and desi-
rous that my friends shall share as much as possible
EVENING PARTIES. 319
in the enjoyments of the evening, I would rather
refrain from dancing myself. Let me present you to
Miss Lindley, or to Miss Darwood ; you will find either
of these young ladies a delightful partner."
These amiable refusals we have heard from our
amiable and unselfish young friends, and such, we
hope, are heard often in what is truly "the best
Ladies who are strangers in the place, are, by cour-
tesy, entitled to particular attention from those who
We have sometimes seen, at a private ball, the least
attractive woman dancing every set, (though acquitting
herself very ill,) while handsome and agreeable ladies
were sitting still. The mystery was solved on finding
that the lady of the house carried her ultra benevo-
lence so very far, as to make a business of procuring
partners all the time for this unlovely and unprepos-
sessing female, lest she should feel neglected. Now a
certain portion of this officiousness is highly praise-
worthy, but too much of it is a great annoyance to
the victimized gentlemen — especially to those who,
as a backwoodsman would say, are certainly " some
Even the most humane man, whatever may be the
kindness of his heart, would rather not exhibit himself
on the floor with a partner ni jeune ni jolie, who is
ill-drest, looks badly, moves ungracefully, can neither
keep time to the music nor understand the figure, and
in fact has " no dancing in her soul." If, with all the
rest, she is dull and stupid, it is cruel for any ldnd
820 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
r riend to inflict her on a gentleman as a partner. Yet
such things we have seen.
On one occasion we threw away a great deal of good
pity on a youth, whom we thought had been inveigled
into quadrilling with a lady who made the worst figure
we ever saw in a hall-room. We afterwards learned
that he had actually solicited the introduction ; and we
saw that he devoted himself to her all the remainder
of the evening. She was a rich heiress.
Self-knowledge is a rare acquirement. But when a
lady does suspect herself to be deficient in all the
essential qualifications of a ball-room, she should give
up dancing entirely, and be magnanimous enough
always to excuse herself positively, when asked to
dance; especially if verging on "a certain age." Let
all " trippings on the light fantastic toe" be left to the
.young and gay.
A deformed woman dancing is " a sorry sight." She
should never consent to any such exhibition of her
unhappy figure. She will only be asked out of mere
compassion, or from some interested and unworthy
motive. We are asked — " Why should not such a lady
dance, if it gives her pleasure ?" We answer — " It
should not give her pleasure."
When a lady is so unfortunate as to have a crooked,
or misshapen person, it is well for her to conceal it as
much as possible, by wearing a shawl, a large cape, a
mantilla, a long sacque, (not a polka jacket ;) and on
no account a tight-bodied pelisse ; or still worse, a
spencer — than which last, nothing is more trying to
the form of the waist, except a riding-habit.
EVENING PARTIES. 821
We saw Frederika Bremer at an evening assemblage,
ami she was so judiciously attired, that her personal
defects did not prevent her from looking really well.
Over a rich black satin dress, she wore a long loose
sacque of black lace, lined with grey silk. Erom
beneath the short sleeves of her sacque, came down
long wide sleeves of white lace, confined with bracelets
round her fair and delicate little hands. Her throat
was covered closely with a handsome collar of French
embroidered muslin, and her beautiful and becoming
cap was of white lace, white flowers, and white satin
ribbon — her light hair being sjmply parted on her
broad and intellectual forehead. With her lively blue
eyes, and the bright and pleasant expression of her
countenance, no one seemed to notice the faults of her
nose, mouth, and complexion — and those of her figure
were so well concealed as to be scarcely apparent.
'And then her lady-like ease, and the total absence of
all affectation, rendered her graceful and preposses-
sing. True it is, that with a good heart and a good
mind no woman can be ugly ; at least, they soon cease
to be so considered, even if nature has been unkind to
them in feature, figure, and complexion. An intelli-
gent eye, and a good humoured mouth, are excellent
substitutes for the want of regular beauty. Physiog-
nomists say that the eye denotes the mind, and the
mouth indicates the heart.
Now as a deformed lady may render herself very
agreeable as a good conversationist, we repeat that
she has no occasion to exhibit the defects of her person
by treading the mazes of a cotillion, or above all, in
'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
going lown a countey dance, should those " never-
ending, still beginning" performances come again into
fashion. Young men say that an ugly, misshapen
female, who waltzes, or joins in a polka, or redowa, or
mazurka, deserves the penitentiary.
We deprecate the practice of keeping the small
children of the family up all the evening, running and
scampering in every one's way, or sleeping about on
the chairs and sofas, and crying when wakened up to
be carried to bed. Would it not be much better
to have them sent to bed at their usual time ? We
knew two well-trained little boys, who submitted obe-
diently to go to bed at their customary hour, on the
night of their mother's party, of which they had seen
nothing but the decorations of the parlours. They
told their parents next morning, that still they had a
great deal of pleasure, for after the carriages began
to arrive, they had lain awake and " heard every
At a large party, or at a wedding, there is gene-
rally a supper table ; lemonade and cakes having been
sent round during the evening. The host and hostess
should see that all the ladies are conducted thither,
and that none are neglected, particularly those that,
are timid, and stand back. It is the business of the
host to attend to those himself, or to send the waiters
If the party is so large that all the ladies cannot go
to the table at once, let the matrons be conducted
thither first, and the young ladies afterwards. If there
is a crowd, it is not unusual to have a cord (a hand-
EVENING PARTIES. 6Z6
some one, of course,) stretched across the door of the
supper-room, and guarded by a servant, who explains
that no more are to pass till after that cord is taken
down. Meanwhile, the younger part of the company
amuse themselves in the adjacent rooms. No lady
should take the liberty of meddling with the flowers
that ornament the table, or of secreting a good things'*
to carry home to her children.
Apropos to flowers. — The stiff, hard bouquets are
now obsolete, where the flowers (stripped of their
natural green leaves,) were tied en masse on a wooden
skewer, against a flat back-ground of cedar sprays.
The more elegant arrangement is revived of arranging
them in a full round cluster, with a fair portion of their
real leaves ; the largest and finest flowers in the centre,
(large white ones particularly) ; those of middle size
next ; and the light, long, and branchy sprays and ten-
drils at the extremities, the smallest near the bottom
of the bouquet, which is not so large and massy as
formerly, but more graceful and select. The bou-
quet may be carried on the young lady's arm, sus-
pended to a long and handsome white ribbon tied in a
bow — a coloured ribbon will disturb the effect of the
flowers. There should be nothing to interfere with
their various and beautiful tints.
At a ball, let no coloured chalks or crayons be used
for the floor. They will rub off on the white shoes of
the ladies, and spoil them.
When, instead of setting a supper-table, refreshments
are handed round to the ladies, the fashion has long
since gone by of a gentleman walking beside each
324 mips Leslie's behaviour book.
waiter, and " assisting the ladies." It is now found
that if the articles are properly arranged, and of the
proper sort, the ladies can much more conveniently
help themselves, and with less risk of staining or
greasing their dresses. Unless the gentleman was " a
thorough-going party-man," and stereotyped as such,
he often committed rather vexatious blunders, particu-
larly if he was not au-courant to the new improve-
ments, and accustomed to being " at good men's
feasts ;" or rather, at women s good feasts. One eve-
ning at a party, we saw an "ingenuous youth," whose
experience in that line must have been rather limited,
officiously undertake the portioning out to the ladies
of a composition hitherto quite new to himself. This
was " a trifle," being the contents of a very large glass
bowl, filled with macaroons, &c, dissolved in wine, &c,
with profuse layers of custard, sweetmeats, &c, and
covered in at the top with a dome of whipt cream
heaped high and thick over the whole. The pea-green
youth assisted the ladies to nothing but saucers of
froth from the top, thinking that was the right way.
At last, the mulatto man, whose superior tact must
have been all this time in a state of suffering, explained
to the novice in trifles, that a portion of all the various
contents of the glass bowl should be allotted to each
saucer. "That!" said the surprised doer of honours,
" I thought all that was only the grounds !" The
coloured man relieved him by taking the silver server
round a second time to all the ladies, who had hitherto
missed the sediment of the syllabub.
At a summer evening party, the refreshments are
EVENING PARTIES. 325
of a much lighter description than at a winter enter-
tainment ; consisting chiefly of ice-creams, water-ices,
fresh fruit, lady-cake, and almond sponge-cake. Also
strawberry or raspberry charlottes, which are made by
arranging in glass bowls slices of cake cut in even and
regular forms, and spread thickly over with the fruit
mashed to a jam with white sugar — the bowls being
heaped with whipt cream.
The dresses of the ladies are of clear muslin, or some
other light material, and without any elaborate trim-
ming. The hair is simply arranged — curls being incon-
venient in warm weather ; and the only head ornament3
are ribbons, or real flowers.
At summer evening-parties the veranda is always
put into requisition, being cooler than any part of the
At summer dinner-parties, let the dessert be served
in another and cooler apartment ; the company quitting
the dining-room as soon as they have done with the
meats, &c. The beauties of the dessert appear to
greater advantage, when seen all at one view on a
We will introduce a minute account of a very
fashionable English dinner-party,, obtained from a
friend who was one of the guests. It may afford some
hints for the routine of an elegant entertainment,
a V Anglais, in our own country.
The guests were twenty-four in number, and they
began to assemble at half past seven, punctually.
They were received in the library, where the host and
hostess were standing ready to receive them, intro-
326 MISS LESLIES BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
during those who were strangers to each other. When
all had arrived, the butler entered, and going up to
the lady of the house, told her in a low voice that
''dinner was served." The hostess then arranged
those that were not previously acquainted, and the
gentlemen conducted the ladies to the dining-room ;
the principal stranger taking the mistress of the house,
and the master giving his arm to the chief of the
female guests. In England, these arrangements are
made according to the rank of the ladies — that of the
gentlemen is not considered. A duchess takes prece-
dence of a marchioness, a viscountess of a countess, a
baroness of a barony's lady, &c, — for a baron is above
a baronet. Going into the dining-room, the compay
passed by the butler and eight footmen, all of whom
were stationed in two rows. The butler was drest
entirely in black — the footmen in their livery. Ac-
cording to a new fashion, they may now wear long
gaiters. White kid gloves are indispensable to the
The table was set for twenty-six — and standing on
it were elegant gilt canclelabras. All the lights were
wax candles. Chandeliers were suspended from the
ceiling. In the middle of the table was a magnificent
plateau, or centre ornament of gold; flowers surmounted
the summit ; and the circular stages below were covered
with confectionery elegantly arranged. On each side
of the plateau, and above and below, were tall china
fruit-baskets. In the centre of each basket were
immense pine-apples of hot-house growth, with their
fresh green leaves. Below the pine-apples were large
EVENING PARTIES. 527
bunches of purple and white hot-house grapes, Deauti-
fully disposed, with leaves and tendrils hanging over
the sides of the baskets. Down each side of the whole
long table, were placed large, round, saucer-shaped
fruit-dishes, heaped up with peaches, nectarines, pears,
plumbs, ripe gooseberries, cherries, currants, strawber-
ries, &c. All the fruits not in season were supplied
from hot-houses. And alternating with the fruit were
all the entremets in covered dishes, placed on long slips
of damask the whole length of the table. All the
plate was superb. The dinner-set was of French china,
gilt, and painted with roses. At every plate was a
caraffe of water, with a tumbler turned down over it,
and several wine-glasses. The napkins were large.
The side-board held only the show-silver and the wine.
The side-tables were covered with elegant damask
cloths. On these were ranged, laid along in numerous
rows, the knives, forks, and spoons to be used at
dinner. The dessert-spoons were in the form of hollow
leaves, the stems being the handles. They were beau-
tifully engraved in tasteful patterns. The fruit-knives
had silver blades and pearl handles. There were two
soups (white and brown,) standing on a side-table.
Bach servant handed the things in his white kid
gloves, and with a damask napkin under his thumb.
They offered (mentioning its name in a low voice,) a
plate of each soup to each guest. After the soup,
Eock and Moselle wine were offered to each guest,
that they might choose either. A dish of fish was
then placed at each end of the table — one was salmon,
the other turbot. These dishes were immediately
32S miss Leslie's behaviour look.
taken off to be helped by the servants, both sorts of
fish being offered to each person. Then the appro-
priate sauce for the fish — also cucumbers to eat with
the salmon. No castors were on the large table, but
they were handed round by the servants. Directly after
the fish came the entremets, or French dishes. The
wine following the fish was Madeira and Sherry.
Afterwards, a saddle or haunch of Welsh mutton
was placed at the master's end of the table, and at the
lady's end a boiled turkey. These dishes being
removed to the side-tables, very thin slices of each
were handed round. The poultry was not dissected —
nothing being helped but the breast. Ham and tongue
was then supplied to those who took poultry; and
currant-jelly to the eaters of mutton. Next came the
vegetables, handed round on dishes divided into four
compartments, each division containing a different sort
Next, two dishes of game were put on — one before
the master of the house, and the other before the mis-
tress. The game (which was perfectly well-done,)
was helped by them, and sent round with the appro-
priate sauce. Then, placed along the table, were the
sweet things — charlottes, jellies, frozen fruit, &c. A
lobster salad, drest and cut up large, was put on with
the sweets. On a side-table were Stilton and cream
cheese, to be eaten with the salad. After this, port
wine — the champagne being early in the dinner. Next
the sweets were handed round. With the sweets were
frozen fruits — fruits cut up, and frozen with isinglass-
jelly, (red, in moulds.)
EVENING PARTIES. ' 329
Next, a dessert plate was given to each guest, and
on it a ground glass plate, about the size of a saucer.
Between these plates was a crochet-worked white doyly,
of the size of the under-plate ; the crochet-work done
with thread, so as to resemble lace. These doylies
were laid under the ground-glass plate, to deaden the
noise of their collision. Then was brought from the
side-table a ground-glass plate of ice-cream, or water-
ice, which you took in exchange for that before you.
The water-ice was frozen in moulds, in the form „f
fruit, and suitably coloured. The baskets containing
the fruit were then removed to the side-tables, where
the servants had silver scissors, with which they clipped
off small bunches of the grapes, and the green tops of
the pine-apples, and a portion of the flesh of the fruit.
The middle part was then pared and sliced. On each
dessert-plate was placed a slice of pine-apple, and
small bunches of white and blue grapes. After the
grapes and pine-apples were thus handed round, the
dishes of the other fruits were then offered successively
to every guest. After the ground-glass and doylies,
there was no farther change of plates.
After sitting a while over the fruit, the lady of the
house gives the signal, by looking and bowing to the
ladies on each side, and the ladies at this signal pre-
pare to retire. The gentlemen all rise, and remain
standing while the ladies depart — the master of the
house holding the door open. The servants then all
retire, except the butler, who remains to wait on the
gentlemen, while they linger awhile (not more than a
quarter of an hour,) over the fruit and wine.
330 MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
I-i may be well to caution our young friends against
Certain bad practices, easily contracted, but sometimes
diffieult to relinquish. The following are things not
to be done : — Biting your nails. Slipping a ring up
and down your finger. Sitting cross-kneed, and,
jogging your feet. Drumming on the table with
your knuckles; or, still worse, tinking on a piano
with your fore-finger only. Humming a tune before
strangers. Singing as you go up and down stairs.
Putting your arm round the neck of another young
girl, or promenading the room with arms encircling
waists. Holding the hand of a friend all the time she
sits beside you; or kissing and fondling her before
company. Sitting too closely.
Slapping a gentleman with your handkerchief, or
tapping him with your fan. Allowing him to take a
ring off your finger, to look at it. Permitting him to
unclasp your bracelet, or, still worse, to inspect your
brooch. When these ornaments are to be shown to
smother person, always take them off for the purpose.
Pulling at your own ringlets, or your own ear-rings —
or fingering your neck ribbon. Suffering a gentle-
man to touch your curls. Reading -with a gentleman
off the same book or newspaper. Looking over the
shoulder of any person who is reading or writing
Taking up a written paper from the table, and ex-
To listen at door-cracks, and peep through key-
holes, is vulgar and contemptible. So it is to ask
children questions concerning their parents, though
such things are still done.
If you mean that you were angry, do not say you
were "mad." — "It made me so mad" — "I was quite
mad at her," are phrases not to be used by people
considering themselves genteel. Anger and madness
are not the same, or should not be ; though it is true
that ungoverned rage, is, sometimes, carried so far as
to seem like insanity.
Enter into no freaks of fashion that are silly, un-
meaning, and unlady-like ; even if they have been
introduced by a belle, and followed by other belles.
Commit no absurdity because a public singer or
dancer has done so in her ignorance of good beha-
viour. During the Jenny Lind fever, there were
young ladies who affected to skuttle into a drawing-
room all of a sudden, somewhat as the fair Swede
came skuttling in upon the concert stage, because in
reality she knew not how to make her entrance grace-
fully. Other demoiselles twined and waved about,
with body, head, and eyes, never a moment , quiet.
This squirming (as it was called) originated in a very
bad imitation of Fanny Elssler's dancing motions.
At one time there were girls at parties, who stood on
miss Leslie's behaviour book.
one foot, and with the other kicked up their dresses
behind, while talking to gentlemen. This fashion
began with a celebrated beauty who " dared do any
thing." Luckily, these "whims and oddities" are
always of short duration, and are never adopted by
young ladies of good taste and refinement.
Do not nod your head, or beat time with fan or
foot while listening to music.
Never at a party consent to accompany another
lady in a duet, unless you are accustomed to singing
with her. Still worse — do not volunteer to "assist"
her in a song that is not a duet. Each voice will
interrupt and spoil the other. A lady who sings by
ear only, cannot accompany one that sings by note.
One of the most horrible sounds imaginable is that
produced by several fine voices all singing different
songs. This cats' concert (as school-girls call it)
results in a shocking and yet ludicrous discord,
equally frightful and laughable. And yet all the
performers are singing individually well. Try it.
Raising a window-sash, in cold weather, without
first ascertaining if the rest of the company are, like
yourself, too warm. Leaving the parlour door open
in winter — a perpetual occurrence at hotels and
Talking so loudly that you can be heard all over
the room. Or so low that you cannot be heard at all,
even by those who are conversing with you. This
last fault is the worst. To talk with one who has a
habit of muttering unintelligibly, is like trying to read
a letter ilhgibly written.
Usin£ too often the word "madam" or "ma'am,"
which in fact, is now nearly obselete in familiar con-
versation. In the old French tragedies the lovers
addressed their mistresses as "madam." But then
the stage Alexander wore a powdered wig, and a
laced coat, knee-breeches, and a long-skirted waist-
coat; and Roxana figured in a hoop-petticoat, a
brocade gown, a flowered apron, and a towering
gauze cap. The frequent use of "sir" is also out of
fashion. "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am," "Yes, sir,"
^No, sir," no longer sounds well, except from children
to their elders. If you have not distinctly heard
what another lady has just said to you, do not denote
it by saying, "Ma'am?" but remark to her, "Excuse
me, I did not exactly hear you !"
Never, in a public parlour, place yourself in a posi-
tion where you can secretly hear conversation that is
not intended for you — for instance in a corner behind
a pillar. If you hear yourself talked of, it is mean to
stay and listen. It is a true adage that "Listeners
seldom hear any good of themselves."
However smart and witty you may be considered,
do not exercise your wit in rallying and bantering
your friends. If you do so, their friendship will soon
be worn out, or converted into positive enmity. A
jest that carries a sting with it can never give a
pleasant sensation to the object. The bite of a
musquito is a very little thing, but it leaves pain and
inflammation behind it, and the more it is rubbed the
longer it rankles in the blood. No one likes to have
their foibbs or mishaps turned into ridicule — before
334 miss Leslie's behaviour book.
other persons especially. And few can cordially join
in a laugh that is raised against themselves.
The slightest jest on the personal defects of those
you are conversing with, is an enormity of rudeness
and vulgarity. It is, in fact, a sneer at the Creator
that made them so. No human creature is account-
able for being too small, or too large ; for an ill-formed
figure, or for ill-shaped limbs; for irregular features,
or a bad complexion.
Still worse, to rally any person (especially a woman)
on her age, or to ask indirect questions with a view of
discovering what her age really is. If we continue to
live, we must continue to grow old. We must either
advance in age, or we must die. Where then is the
shame of surviving our youth? And when youth
departs, beauty goes along with it. At least as much
beauty as depends on complexion, hair, and teeth. In
arriving at middle age, (or a little beyond it,) a lady
must compound for the loss of either face or figure.
About that period she generally becomes thinner, or
fatter. If thin, her features shrink, and her skin
shrivels and fades ; even though she retains a slender
and perhaps a girlish form. If she grows fat, her
skin may continue smooth, and her complexion fine,
and her neck and arms may be rounder and hand-
somer than in girlhood; but then symmetry of shape
^\ ill cease — and she must reconcile herself to the
change as best she can. But a woman with a good
mind, a good heart, and a good temper, can never at any
age grow ugly — for an intelligent and pleasant expres-
sion is in itself beauty, and the best sort of beauty.
MISCELL &NIES. 83-5
Sad indeed is the condition of women in the decline
of life when "No lights of age adorn them." When,
having neglected in the spring and summer to lay up
any stores for the winter that is sure to come, they
find themselves left in the season of desolation with
nothing to fall back upon — no pleasant recollections
of the acquisition of knowledge or the performance of
good deeds, and nothing to talk about but the idle
gossip of the day — striving painfully to look younger
than they really are; still haunting balls and parties,
and enduring all the discomforts of crowded water-
ing-places, long after -all pleasure in such scenes must
have passed away. But then they must linger in
public because they are miserable at home, having no
resources within themselves, and few enduring friends
to enliven them with their society.
The woman that knows how to grow old gracefully,
will adapt her dress to her figure and her age, and
wear colours that suit her present complexion. If her
neck and arms are thin, she will not expose them under
any circumstances. If her hair is grey, she will not
decorate it with flowers and flimsy ribbons. If her
cheeks are hollow, she will not make her face look
still longer and thinner by shadowing it with long
ringlets; and setting her head-dress far back — but
she will give it as much softness as she can, by a light
cap-border tied under her chin. She will not squeeze
herself out of all human shape by affecting a long
tight corsage; and she will wear no dresses glaring
with huge flowers, or loaded with gaudy trimmings.
She will allude to her age as a thing of course ; she
MISS LESLIE'S BEHAVIOUR BOOK.
will speak without hesitation of former times, though
the recollection proves her to be really old. She wifl
he kind and indulgent to the young; and the young
will respect and love her, and gladly assemble near
her chair, and be amused and unconsciously instructed.
As long as she lives and retains her faculties she will
endeavour to improve, and to become still a wiser and
a better woman ; never excusing herself by indolently
and obstinately averring that "she is too old to learn,"
or that she cannot give up her old-fashioned habits.
If she finds that those habits are unwarrantable, or
that they are annoying to her friends, she ought to
relinquish them. No one with a mind unimpaired,
and a heart still fresh, is too old to learn.
This book is addressed chiefly to the young ; but we
shall be much gratified by finding that even old ladies
have found in it some advantageous suggestions on
joints that had hitherto escaped their notice.
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
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